WSU able to ‘Jump Around’ Wisconsin winning 17-14

Jake Dickert-led defense held Wisconsin to 14 points



WSU head coach Jake Dickert adresses his team after the 2022 Spring Game, April 23, at Martin Stadium.

TREVOR JUNT, Evergreen deputy sports editor

It is the biggest statement win in the Jake Dickert-era.

WSU football was able to go into Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin and take down the No.19 Badgers 17-14.

The Cougar defense showed up and showed out. They were able to get seven tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and fumble recoveries, one interception and one sack.

The stats do not tell the entire story of the game either. Wisconsin was able to have just over 38 minutes in time of possession but they were not able to score, or even get in the red zone often.

Wisconsin controlled the ball by running frequently, a total of 44 times. As a team, they carried for 174 yards averaging four yards per carry. Braelon Allen, Wisconsin’s leading running back, ran the ball 21 times for 98 yards but no touchdown. Chez Mellusi, their second running back carried it 15 times for 44 yards averaging 2.9 yards per carry.

The WSU offense started slow again, similar to what happened against Idaho. They did not look special. Cam Ward finished the game throwing 17/28 for 200 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Wisconsin transfer Nakia Watson led WSU’s rushing attack. On 10 carries he only rushed for 33 yards. Watson did score both touchdowns for the Cougs against his former school, a two-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter and a vital 31-yard receiving touchdown in the third quarter to give the Cougs the lead. This ended up being the game-winning touchdown as the Cougar defense shutdown Wisconsin.

Going back to the statement that the stats may not tell the whole story, if you just look at the team statistics in the box score you would think that Wisconsin won this game. They lead in every statistic except penalties.

Wisconsin had 22 first downs while WSU only had 10. Wisconsin had 401 total yards to WSU’s 253, leading WSU in passing yards 227 to 200 and dominating the Cougs in rushing yards 174 to 53.

The time of possession was 38:02 to WSU’s 21:58. However, Wisconsin had 11 penalties for 106 yards, which is the most penalties for them in a game since 2018. WSU only had five for 50 yards.

WSU showed a lot of fight and hustle during this game. A specific play that stands out is when Ward threw an interception while getting hit. Team Captain Lincoln Victor came at full speed diving and punching the ball out from behind. WSU recovered the ball and then scored the go-ahead touchdown.

Later on in the game, Christian Mejia, WSU defensive lineman, was able to pick off a pass that was deflected by RJ Stone, but he fumbled the ball on the return which Wisconsin recovered. However, a few plays later WSU edge, Quinn Roff, was able to punch the ball out of Wisconsin tight end, Clay Cundiff’s possession and safety Sam Lockett III was able to dive on the ball to secure it for the Cougs.

After this fumble recovery with 5:14 left in the game, WSU never gave the ball back to Wisconsin.

Dickert was emotional after the win and ran to hug his family after he finished an interview. This is as close as it gets for a homecoming for him as he grew up in Wisconsin and had around 200 family members and close friends attending the game, according to WSU Athletics.

“It was a special moment for me and my family and all of the people that we’ve had here. But it’s a big moment for Cougs everywhere. I asked this team to believe on January 9 in a new vision of Washington State football and new accountability. I think our guys have really bought in and I think that’s what a team does: goes out there against a tough team and gets a win,” Dickert said.

Dickert further explained the importance of this win for Cougs.

“I’m hoping that Cougs everywhere are proud. We carry this flag, we’ve been on College Gameday for a long time. We travel and there’s an experience when you come to Washington State that people carry with them for a lifetime. I think Cougs everywhere across the country are proud of these guys,” Dickert said. “ I am proud to be here and I’m proud to represent Washington State. That’s first and foremost a place I love. I can’t wait to keep this thing going.”

Stone spoke about the defense and how this game was on a national level.

“It just means that our hard work is finally getting noticed, you know, we put a lot of work in the offseason. We trust and rely on ourselves, we didn’t really care about the outside noise. It’s always been Cougs versus everyone, that’s our calling card and we’re just going to lean on the guys we have in our own locker room,” Stone said.

This is the first time the Cougs have ever beat a ranked Big Ten opponent, now 1-13 all-time. Also, the first road win against a ranked non-conference opponent since 2003.

After celebrating this win, WSU moves on to game-planning against Colorado State, who they face at 2 p.m. on Saturday in Gesa Field at Martin Stadium in Pullman.