FINAL: Second-half surge lifts No. 13 LSU past No. 14 Wisconsin, 28-24 - Sports

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8/30/14 LSU vs. Wisconsin

FINAL: Second-half surge lifts No. 13 LSU past No. 14 Wisconsin, 28-24

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Posted: Saturday, August 30, 2014 7:49 pm

The No. 13 LSU football team got off to a slow start at the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff on Saturday night, but a late 21-point explosion sparked the Tigers' 28-24 comeback victory against No. 14 Wisconsin.

Sophomore Anthony Jennings started at quarterback for the Tigers, who picked up one first down before the drive stalled on an errant screen pass.

After several powerful runs from the Wisconsin junior running back Melvin Gordon, sophomore receiver Reggie Love scored on a 45-yard run to put the Badgers ahead 7-0 about six minutes into the game.

LSU picked up only one first down on the ensuing drive before punting to the Badgers, who kicked a 51-yard field goal to go up 10-0 with five minutes remaining in the first quarter.

The Tigers opened the next series with a play-action pass, and Jennings found sophomore receiver Travin Dural for an 80-yard touchdown after getting flushed out of the pocket.

Both defenses dug in on the ensuing drives, forcing a string of punts. But Wisconsin picked up some momentum when LSU tight end Travis Dickson fumbled on the Tigers' 31 yard line, and Gordon punched it in from 14 yards out to put the Badgers up 17-7 midway through the second quarter.

Freshman quarterback Brandon Harris entered the contest with about four minutes left in the first half, but LSU still couldn't muster any offensive continuity. 

Wisconsin out-rushed the Tigers 182-17 in the first half, with Gordon accounting for 85 yards. Jennings finished the first half 5-for-15, while the Badgers' junior quarterback Tanner McEvoy went 5-for-13. 

Gordon opened the second half with a 63-yard scamper to LSU's 12 yard line. Sophomore running back Corey Clement converted a 4th-and-1 before his two-yard touchdown plunge put the Badgers up 24-7.

On the next drive, the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on three straight running plays. But LSU coach Les Miles called for a fake punt, which the Tigers executed to give their offense a new set of downs.

Jennings found Dural for a 43-yard strike on the next play, but LSU had to settle for a 30-yard field goal that made it 24-10. 

After forcing a key three-and-out, the Tigers picked up a couple of first downs. But the drive yet again resulted in a field goal by sophomore Colby Delahoussaye, cutting Wisconsin's lead to 24-13.

LSU forced another punt from Wisconsin and took over in favorable field position after a woeful punt. The Tigers' drive nearly stalled on a fumbled pitch for an 11-yard loss, but freshman receiver John Diarse broke three tackles on his way to the end zone on 3rd and 21.

Jennings found freshman receiver Trey Quinn in the flats for a two-point conversion that cut Badgers' lead to 24-21.

Junior cornerback Jalen Mills kept the momentum rolling, intercepting McEvoy on the next drive to give LSU the ball near midfield. Senior running back Kenny Hilliard touched the ball on all four plays of the ensuing drive, giving the Tigers their first lead of the game on a 28-yard touchdown run. 

Wisconsin managed a few first downs before senior safety Ronald Martin picked off a desperate heave from McEvoy on 3rd and 10 with 6:35 left to play.

LSU picked up a few first downs, draining four minutes off the clock before punting back to the Badgers with more than two minutes remaining. But the Tigers threw Gordon for a two-yard loss and McEvoy threw two incompletions, prompting Wisconsin to punt right back to LSU.

The Tigers went right back to Hilliard, who sealed the win by picking up a first down on three rushes. Hilliard led LSU with 118 rushing yards, and Jennings finished with 238 passing yards despite his poor start.

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