PHOENIX (AP) — Braelon Allen rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown and Wisconsin withstood a second-half push from Oklahoma State in the Guaranteed Bowl to win 24-17 Tuesday night.
The Badgers (7-6) dominated the first half with stifling defense, building a 17-point lead as new coach Luke Fickell lurked on the sideline and interim coach Jim Leonhard called the shots.
Wisconsin was stuck on the slippery turf of Chase Field in the second half, unable to generate much offense as the Cowboys (7-6) found a rhythm when they had the ball.
Cedrick Dort ended Oklahoma State’s momentum by intercepting Garret Rangel’s pass with three minutes remaining, preserving the Badgers’ eighth win in their last nine bowl games.
Allen scored on a 20-yard run after Oklahoma State fumbled in the third quarter, Chez Mellusi scored on a 1-yard run, and Chase Wolf threw a 15-yard TD pass to Hayden Rucci.
The Cowboys dropped four of five to close out the regular season and struggled offensively as they fell into a 24-7 hole midway through the third quarter.
Rangel led Oklahoma State, passing for 229 yards and two touchdowns.
The freshman improvised a fourth-and-goal by throwing a pass to Ollie Gordon while held by a defender to lead off the fourth quarter and set up Tanner Brown’s 24-yard field goal to bring the Cowboys within 24-17.
Rangel tried to make a big play downfield after another Oklahoma State defensive stop in the second half, but threw his second interception as Dort cut inside the intended receiver.
THE TO TAKE
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys ramped up their offense a little late to mount the comeback, leaving coach Mike Gundy with nine bowl wins, tied for seventh on his career list.
Wisconsin: The Badgers had a new coach on the sidelines and several new players in key positions, including quarterback. Wisconsin clinched the win after their offense stalled, sending Leonhard out with a win.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Wisconsin: Fickell will continue to fill out his staff and roster after losing several players who declared for the NFL draft or entered the transfer portal. Wolf will return and have the momentum on his side after winning a game of bowling.
Oklahoma State: The bowl experience should help Rangel head into next season, when he’ll be the favorite to become the starting quarterback. Most of the Cowboys’ skilled players should also be back.
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