Sport Chase Wolf makes the most of his first start for Wisconsin and plans to return to next season
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Chase Wolf wasn’t perfect in his first college start.
Yet the fifth-year senior overcame a costly interception on is fifth throw of the game and directed two critical touchdown drives in the second quarter to help Wisconsin end its season within the Guaranteed Rate Bowl on Tuesday night in Phoenix.
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“I thought Chase did a phenomenal job tonight,” UW coach Luke Fickell said. “He controlled what he could control. He took shots when he took shots.
“I don't think I ever saw him bat an eye. Even after the interception, his ability to come back. That's a credit to him.”
Wolf hit 2 of 3 passes for 17 yards on UW’s first series, which ended with Nate Van Zelst’s 47-yard field goal.
The Badgers faced second and 11 from the Oklahoma State 15 on their second possession when Wolf forced a ball to Chimere Dike, who was covered in the end zone. Safety Trey Rucker drifted over to make an easy interception. His 16-yard return put the ball at the 16 and the Cowboys stunned UW on the next play with an 84-yard touchdown pass for an early 7-3 lead.
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Wolf was 3 of 5 for 11 yards at that point.
He completed 3 of 3 passes for 37 yards on a 68-yard touchdown drive to help UW take the lead for good and followed that by completing 3 of 3 passes for 40 yards on a 65-yard touchdown drive.
Chez Mellusi capped the first drive with a 1-yard run and Wolf hit tight end Hayden Rucci for a 15-yard score on the second drive.
Wolf saw two potential big gains nullified by drops.
Dean Engram failed to haul in a pass inside the Oklahoma State 5 on UW’s first possession. Had he made the catch, the gain would have been about 25 yards and given UW first and goal.
Keontez Lewis dropped a deep pass in the end zone on a play that should have been a 49-yard completion.
Wolf’s best completion came on UW’s second touchdown drive.
UW faced third and 7 from its 39 when Wolf deftly side-stepped a blitzing linebacker Lamont Bishop and then fired a sidearm throw to Dike for 20 yards to the Oklahoma State 41.
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Five plays later Wolf, hit Rucci for the 15-yard touchdown to help UW take a 17-7 halftime lead.
Wolf later lost a fumble on a sack and finished 16 of 26 for 116 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
Tuesday was his 13th game at UW. Fickell suggested afterward Wolf is leaning toward taking advantage of the COVID season of 2020 and returning to UW for a sixth season. Wolf told reporters he would be back.
“We've talked about that,” Fickell said. “He's got himself into graduate school, and I think he feels like he's got some unfinished business.
“And it's hard to walk away from a place like this.”
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Luke Fickell era at UW opens with a victory as the Badgers build a big lead and then hold off Oklahoma State .
UW relies on its ground game behind Braelon Allen and Chase Mellusi; Chase Wolf makes several important throws and the defense gets one last stop.UW was shaky early – with Chase Wolf throwing an end zone interception and the defense allowing Oklahoma State to turn a short pass into an 84-yard score on the next play.