Badgers Defeat Cowboys 24-17 in 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Badgers Cowboys

The first-ever meeting between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Oklahoma State Cowboys was supposed to be one of the most anticipated matchups in this postseason among non-New Year’s Six games. The 2022 Guaranteed Rate bowl game between the Badgers and the Cowboys was heavily impacted by the series of opt-outs from the NCAA transfer portal and the 2023 NFL draft.  The Badgers and the Cowboys lost key players on both sides of the ball that significantly impacted to the game.  Regardless, both teams fought each other in a brutal fight where the defense was the key to victory.  While the Cowboys had more firepower in the passing game, it was the running game and the highly efficient defense that gave the Badgers the big 24-17 win.

Badgers Defeat Cowboys 24-17 in 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Turnovers From The Quarterback Plagued the Cowboys

Going into the game, Wisconsin and Oklahoma State were without their experienced quarterbacks.  Wisconsin’s Graham Mertz and Oklahoma State’s Spencer Sanders opted out to go into the NCAA transfer portal.  This left both offenses to be led by inexperienced quarterbacks for this big bowl game. Both Wisconsin’s Chase Wolf and Oklahoma State’s Garrett Rangel turned the ball over twice. Their turnovers gave the opposing team seven points off the turnover. The biggest difference was that Rangel’s last interception came in the game’s final few minutes. He found more deep opportunities as his receiver broke for bigger plays. Wolf, on the other hand, was not as efficient with the mid-range-to-deep passes. He was able to be an efficient game-manager quarterback for the Badgers as he passed for 16-of-26 completions. He made some critical errors, but Wolf was able to lead the offense to a bounce-back performance.


Braelon Allen Was the Badgers’ Offensive Star

With Mertz out as the leader of the Badgers’ offense, they needed star sophomore running back Braelon Allen to pick up the extra slack. With the help of the offensive line, the Badgers rushed for 258 yards and two touchdowns on 47 carries for an average of 5.5 yards per carry. Allen had his seventh 100-yard rushing performance of this season as he rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. It is the eighth game this season that Allen has rushed for over an average of five yards per rush. The offensive line was opening up stellar running lanes for Allen to attack throughout the game. Chez Mellusi had his second-best performance this season as he rushed for 77 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.

Badgers Limit Cowboys’ Offense 

On top of losing Sanders for the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, the Cowboys also lost star running Dominic Richardson as he opted into the NCAA Transfer Portal. Even with the loss of Richardson, the Cowboys were still determined to run the ball consistently. They were, however, going against one of the best rush defenses in the nation led by interim head coach/defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard.

The Badgers’ defense allowed 229 passing yards from Oklahoma State. Outside of the one-play drive that resulted in an 84-yard touchdown, Wisconsin allowed 145 passing yards from Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State was significantly limited on offense as they could not create a rushing performance due to the heavy pressure of the Badgers’ defense. Wisconsin only allowed 52 yards on 26 carries for an average of two yards per carry. Sophomore linebacker Jordan Turner was the defensive star for the Badgers against the suppressed offense of Oklahoma State. Turner accounted for eight total tackles and tackles for loss with 1.5.