STATE COLLEGE, Penn (WSAU-TSN) Sam Ficken kicked a 37-yard field goal in the extra session to lift the Penn State Nittany Lions to a 24-21 win over their Big Ten rival Wisconsin Badgers in an overtime thriller at Beaver Stadium.
Ficken made three field goals in the contest as Penn State (8-4, 6-2 Big Ten) closed out its 2012 campaign with three wins in four games. Matt McGloin completed 19-of-37 attempts for 200 yards and a touchdown under center while Zach Zwinak racked up 179 yards and a score on 36 attempts. Jesse James reeled in three receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown while Jordan Hill stood out on the defensive side of the ball with 12 total stops, three tackles for loss, and two sacks.
Monte Ball scored his 79th career touchdown in the loss to become the NCAA's all-time touchdowns leader for Wisconsin (7-5, 4-4), which fell in overtime for the third time in four games. Ball finished with 111 yards on 27 carries. Quarterback Curt Phillips finished with 191 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception on 12-of-25 passing. Ethan Armstrong anchored the Badgers' defensive unit with 12 total tackles.
On the fourth play after the opening kickoff, Phillips completed a 57-yard touchdown pass to put Wisconsin ahead 7-0 less than two minutes into the contest.
The Nittany Lions responded by driving 75 yards on 14 plays to set up a three- yard rushing touchdown by Zwinak. Kenzel Doe returned the ensuing kickoff 47 yards to give the Badgers' offensive unit great field position to start their next drive. Jared Abbrederis found a seam and gained 24 yards on first down before Ball ran 17 yards into the end zone for six points.
Ball's 73rd career touchdown also tied him with Travis Prentice for first in the NCAA record books in that category. His record breaking score put Wisconsin ahead, 14-7, at the 6:27 mark of the first frame.
After a scoreless second frame, the Badgers took a seven-point lead into the intermission.
Penn State chipped away at the lead in the third stanza. Sam Ficken opened up the second half scoring with a 23-yard field goal just over four minutes after kickoff. Ficken added a 32-yard field goal with 2:58 remaining to cut the deficit to 14-13 as the game entered the final quarter of play.
McGloin put the Nittany Lions back on with 13:32 remaining in regulation with a 41-yard touchdown strike to James.
The Badgers drove into Penn State territory on their next drive before Phillips was intercepted by Jacob Fagnano. Wisconsin's defense forced a three- and-out, which put the ball back in Phillips's hands with one last chance. The Badgers' quarterback drove the team all the way down the field before connecting with Jeff Duckworth with 18 seconds left to play. Kyle French converted the extra point attempt to even the score at 21 and force an overtime session.
PSU had possession first but could not gain one first down. Ficken put the home team up with a 37-yard field goal.
Wisconsin's offense nearly cost it as Phillips fumbled and was nearly picked off. After the Badgers lost three yards, French's 44-yard field goal went wide left and the Nittany Lions closed out their season on top.
PSU reached the markers on 9-of-20 third-down plays. Wisconsin managed just 5- of-16 third-down conversions.