Watson leads Washington State to win over No. 19 Wisconsin

The former Badger running back scored 2 touchdowns

NCAA Football: Washington State at Wisconsin
Washington State Cougars running back Nakia Watson scores a touchdown against Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Maema Njongmeta on Sept. 10, 2022, at Camp Randall.
Dan Powers / USA Today Sports
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MADISON, Wis. — Transfer Nakia Watson came back to haunt his former team, scoring two touchdowns to lead visiting Washington State to a 17-14 non-conference upset of No. 19 Wisconsin on Saturday.

Watson, who played the previous two seasons at Wisconsin, scored on a 2-yard run and a 31-yard pass for the Cougars (2-0).

Washington State erased a 14-7 halftime deficit with a field goal and touchdown for a 17-14 lead entering the final quarter.

Renard Bell returned the second half kickoff 73 yards for the Cougars, who settled for a 26-yard field goal by Dean Janikowski. Washington State had fourth-and-1 at the Wisconsin 4, but then were called for a false start.

Cameron Ward put the Cougars up 17-14 with a 31-yard scoring pass to Watson. Washington State caught a huge break when Jay Shaw intercepted Ward, but fumbled on the return, giving the Cougars the ball back on their own 47.


On second down from the 31, Ward evaded a sack and hit Watson out of the backfield with a swing pass to the left. Cornerback Kamo'I Latu missed the open field tackle at the 30, giving Watson a clear path to the left corner.

Wisconsin's Vito Calvaruso missed a 43-yard field goal attempt on the first play of the fourth quarter. He missed a 50-yarder in the first quarter.

The Badgers had third-and-6 at the Washington State 9 with just over 6 ½ minutes left. Christian Mejia picked off Graham Mertz, but fumbled on the return and Wisconsin recovered. Two plays later, Clay Cundiff fumbled on a 24-yard completion over the middle and the Cougars recovered at the Wisconsin 12 with 5:14 remaining. Washington State then ran out the clock.

Ward completed 17 of 28 passes for 200 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Watson finished with 34 yards rushing on 11 carries. Mertz completed 18 of 31 for 227 yards with two scores and one pick. Braelon Allen ran for 98 yards on 21 carries for Wisconsin (1-1).

After a scoreless first quarter, the Cougars got on the board when Watson capped a 53-yard drive with a 2-yard run.

Wisconsin responded with a six-play 65-yard scoring drive, tying it on Mertz's 17-yard scoring toss to Cundiff.

The Badgers put together a 45-yard touchdown march late in the first half, capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass to Cundiff.


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