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    Northwestern Tops No. 20 Wisconsin, 16-7

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Pat Durr celebrates NU's win over Wisconsin with some fans.
    Pat Durr celebrates NU's win over Wisconsin with some fans.

    Oct 25, 2003

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    EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern's Noah Herron wrapped his arms around the ball, hunched over and waited.

    When he finally looked up, the defenders were gone, the end zone was in sight and so was an upset over No. 20 Wisconsin.

    The Wildcats (4-4, 2-2 Big Ten) beat the Badgers 16-7 on Saturday and got 104 yards rushing from Herron, who keyed a fake field goal on fourth-and-6 with Northwestern up 9-7.

    The trick play was the biggest of the game, and it surprised everyone except for Herron and the Wildcats.

    "We ran it a few times in my career. It's probably out the window now. You can only dust it off every few years," coach Randy Walker said of the fake. "It's a heck of a play.

    Eric Batis took the snap, slipped the ball between the legs of Herron and ran left with a group of blockers to draw the defense. Herron stood still for a couple of counts, then took off with the ball to the right for a 20-yard gain and a first down to the 3.

    Jason Wright scored two plays later to give Northwestern a 16-7 lead in the third quarter, silencing a large and noisy traveling Wisconsin crowd.

    Herron, picked to run the play because of his long arms, said the two seconds he had to wait seemed like an eternity.

    Noah Herron runs the ball down to the 3-yard-line on a fake field goal.

    "I wanted to get up and look around, but I have to keep my head down," Herron said.

    It was the second time in Walker's coaching career that he has used the trick play to knock off a ranked opponent. Walker was at Miami University in 1997 when he called the play in a victory over No. 14 Virginia Tech.

    It was Northwestern's first win over a ranked opponent since a 27-26 win over Michigan State in 2001.

    "This is an awful good feeling. I'm thrilled for our kids," Walker said.

    Wright, who played much of the second half with a bum left ankle, also caught a 53-yard touchdown pass and ran for 97 yards on 18 carries.

    Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2) played without injured quarterback Jim Sorgi, and lost running back Anthony Davis to injury early in the game. The Badgers clearly missed them.

    Backup quarterback Matt Schabert was effective running the ball but overthrew several receivers, particularly on long routes.

    Schabert was 20-of-36 for 193 yards and one interception. He was the team's leading rusher with 57 yards.

    "We didn't block them and we never did establish the running game. Very frustrating," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said. "Frustrating for the guys on the field and very unsettling for the coaching staff."

    WR Roger Jordan, right, reaches for a pass in the end zone as Wisconsin's Scott Starks defends.

    Brett Basanez threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Wright to give Northwestern the early lead. Safety Jim Leonard was in position to knock the throw down, but missed the ball and the receiver -- giving Wright a clear path to the end zone for a 6-0 lead.

    Joel Howells kicked the extra point into the back of his offensive line. Howells, in for the injured Slade Larscheid, missed again badly on a 25-yard field-goal attempt. Neither kick cleared the line of scrimmage, and he was pulled for punter Brian Huffman.

    Huffman made a 25-yard field goal.

    Wisconsin's only points came on backup running backup Dwayne Smith's 18-yard touchdown run.

    The scoring play was set up by an interception by Chuckie Cowans at the 48. Schabert ran the ball three times for 19 yards and had a 12-yard completion to Lee Evans on the drive.

    The Badgers lost Davis late in the first quarter after just five carries. Davis left after re-injuring his ankle and didn't return. He has missed three games and parts of three others this season because of a sprained left ankle.

    Other than the one touchdown, the Badgers couldn't muster much else on offense. Northwestern outgained Wisconsin 421-328, sacked Schabert twice and forced him into a number of bad throws.

    Northwestern defensive end Loren Howard the trick play seemed to take the fight out of the Badgers.

    "I looked over at their sideline in the third quarter and they were lifeless. There was no emotion over there. I think at that point they threw in the towel," Howard said. "They looked like a dead log."

    Northwestern wide receiver/punt returner Mark Philmore injured his left knee in the first half and did not return to the game.

    (The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

    ** Northwestern has won two in a row over the Badgers, dating to the 2000 double-overtime win (47-44) in Madison. The last time Northwestern recorded back-to-back wins over Wisconsin was 1995 and '96.

    ** In defeating the nationally ranked Badgers (No. 20 AP, No. 17 ESPN/USA Today), NU toppled a ranked team for the first time since Sept. 29, 2001 when the Wildcats beat 23rd-ranked Michigan State, 27-26.

    ** In its last three games (Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota), Northwestern has outscored its opposition 37-0 in the first quarter.

    ** The Wildcats, coming into the game ranked first in the Big Ten in red-zone defense (.600 percentage), allowed Wisconsin one score in three tries inside the 20-yard line.

    ** Northwestern's 245 rushing yards were the most allowed by Wisconsin this season. The Badgers' previous high mark was 162 yards by both West Virginia and Akron. They had not allowed more than 69 rushing yards (vs. Ohio State) in any of its first four Big Ten games.

    ** Jason Wright extended his string of consecutive carries without a fumble to 379. As a team, NU has not lost a fumble in six of its eight games this year.

    ** With his 16-yard rush in the first quarter, Jason Wright went over the 2,000-yard mark for career rushing and became the sixth NU player to do so. Later in the game, Wright moved past Mike Adamle on the all-time rushing list and now sits fifth all-time with 2,054 career yards.

    ** Wright's 53-yard scoring reception in the first quarter was the second receiving TD of his career. He scored his first collegiate TD on a reception in 2001 at Duke.

    ** With his two touchdowns today, Wright moves into a sixth-place tie with Bob Christian on NU's all-time scoring list (174 points).

    ** Running back Noah Herron led the Wildcats with a career-high 104 rushing yards on 11 carries (9.5 ypc). It was his second 100-yard rushing effort of the year.

    ** Kunle Patrick extended the nation's longest consecutive reception string to 42 games with an 11-yard catch early in the game. He has 162 career receptions.

    ** Northwestern held Wisconsin to seven points, the fewest points it's surrendered in a Big Ten game since defeating the Badgers 35-0 on Oct. 21, 1995.

    ** With 10 completions today, Brett Basanez moved into seventh place on NU's career completion list with 307.

    ** Linebacker Tim McGarigle came back from a concussion at Indiana to record a season-high 14 tackles.

    ** Defensive end Loren Howard upped his team-leading TFL total to eight with three TFLs against Wisconsin.