GREEN BAY, Wisc. — LSU rallied from a 13-point deficit Saturday at Lambeau Field before Wisconsin placekicker Rafael Gaglianone made a 47-yard field goal that proved to be the game winner, as LSU lost its season opener for the first time since 2002.
LSU (0-1) scored twice in a 67-second span of the third quarter to take a lead, and after falling behind again, the Tigers had a first down at the Wisconsin (1-0) 30-yard line with a minute to play. However, quarterback Brandon Harris was intercepted at the Badgers 25.
Harris finished 12-of-21 passing for 131 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Dural caught five passes for 50 yards. Running back Leonard Fournette had 23 rushes for 138 yards and added three catches for 38 yards.
Gaglianone made field goals of 30 and 48 yards to give Wisconsin a 6-0 halftime lead. Fifth-year senior quarterback Bart Houston was 19-of-31 passing for 205 yards with two interceptions. Running back Corey Clement led the Badgers with 86 yards on 21 carries, while tight end Tony Fumagalli caught seven passes for 100 yards and a touchdown.
LSU was outgained 339-257, as Wisconsin had a 36:57-23:03 advantage in time of possession.
2016 Season Underway
LSU linebacker Duke Riley called the coin toss accurately and the Tigers deferred the decision until the second half.
Wisconsin took the opening kickoff from placekicker Cameron Gamble and the Badgers started a seven-play drive from its 19 following a 17-yard return. Wisconsin earned two first downs including its longest play of 12 yards to Troy Fumagalli on Houston’s only pass attempt. A third-and-4 sack by LSU linebacker Arden Key led to a 22-yard punt by P.J. Rosowski.
LSU’s first possession of the contest started with consecutive runs by Fournette totaling seven yards before Harris’ fake on an end-around to D.J. Chark didn’t fool the Badgers and the LSU quarterback was stopped for no gain. A 23-yard punt by LSU freshman Josh Growden allowed Wisconsin to take over at its 40.
A play-action pass from Houston to wide receiver Rob Wheelwright moved Wisconsin into positive field position for the first time at the LSU 32. A third-down scramble by Houston came up a yard short of a first down, and linebacker Kendell Beckwith blew up a run by Clement to turn the ball back to the Tigers.
LSU went three-and-out and Growden punted for 41 yards to the Wisconsin 34.
Wisconsin Foiled in Red Zone
After maintaining possession for 13:07 in the opening quarter, Wisconsin was in position to break a scoreless tie early in the second quarter. Houston’s 15-yard pass to a diving Wheelwright on third-and-6 was the key play early in the drive.
After a false start penalty on third down from the LSU 4-yard line, Houston was pressured by nose tackle Greg Gilmore and threw into the endzone off his back foot. LSU safety Rickey Jeffersonstepped in front of the pass in the endzone for his fourth career interception.
Fournette Over 3,000 Career Yards
On the ensuing drive, wide receiver Travin Dural was held in the secondary to give LSU its first first down of the game at the LSU 30. On second-and-5, Fournette broke off a 9-yard run to the LSU 44 and eclipsed 3,000 career yards.
Entering the contest with 2,987 yards, Fournette became the fourth LSU player to amass 3,000 yards and the fastest in terms of carries (491) and games (26).
After crossing into Badgers territory with a 15-yard pass from Harris to Dural, Harris was sacked on third-and-7. Growden’s 36-yard punt was downed at the Wisconsin 11.
The Badgers picked up a first down on the first play of the drive to gain breathing room, but a personal foul on third-and-2 stalled the drive. Rosowski’s 51-yard punt allowed LSU to begin its drive on its 36.
Wisconsin Takes Lead Following Fumble
On first down, sophomore running back Derrius Guice took and end around to the right side but fumbled when his by Leo Musso. Wisconsin’s Chikwe Obasih recovered at the LSU 36.
A nine-play, 24-yard drive ended with a 30-yard field goal by Gaglianone. Wisconsin led 3-0 with 4:13 remaining in the first half.
LSU Turnover on Downs Leads to 3 More
After starting the drive with a first-down pass from Harris to Dural, three Fournette runs netted nine yards to the LSU 45 and put LSU in an awkward position with fourth-and-1. Les Miles elected to go for it on his side of the field, but LSU turned the ball over on downs when Fournette was stopped short of the marker.
Wisconsin used the short field to tack on a 48-yard field goal with 54 seconds remaining in the half.
The Badgers took a 6-0 lead into the lockerroom.
Wisconsin Adds to Lead
LSU received the opening kickoff but didn’t manage a first down. The Tigers compounded the poor offensive start with a 25-yard punt to the Wisconsin 42.
On Wisconsin’s first offensive play of the half, Houston found Fumagalli behind the defense for 27 yards to the LSU 31. Clement reeled off runs of 12 and 10 yards to the LSU 9 before scoring two plays later on a 5-yard run that was initially ruled short of the goalline.
Wisconsin led 13-0 with 10:55 remaining in the third quarter.
LSU put together its longest drive of the game – seven plays, 49 yards – but was stalled at the Wisconsin 34 when Dupre couldn’t haul in a pass inside the red zone. Growden’s punt was downed at the Wisconsin 4.
Tre’Davious White INT for TD
Following consecutive 3-yard runs by Clement, Houston dropped near his goalline and threw a pass into the left flat that was intercepted by White near the sideline at the 21-yard line. White traversed the field and leaped into the endzone to give LSU its first score of the game.
Colby Delahoussaye‘s point after touchdown cut LSU’s deficit to 13-7 with 5:28 remaining in the third quarter.
Second TD in 67 Seconds
Wisconsin started its ensuing drive at its 35 and looked to gain a first down with an 11-yard pass to George Rushing on third-and-9. However, LSU defensive back Donte Jackson stripped the ball from Rushing and White recovered for the Tigers at the Wisconsin 41.
LSU took advantage of another turnover immediately, as Harris connected with Fournette along the left sideline for 31 yards to the 10. The Tigers quickly got off the next snap, as Harris passed to Dural for a 10-yard catch and run into the endzone.
Following two touchdowns in 67 seconds, LSU led 14-13 with 4:21 remaining in the third quarter.
Badgers Hits Go-Ahead Field Goal
Four-straight drives ended in punts before Wisconsin put together an eight-play, 48-yard drive to the LSU 29. Gaglianone gave Wisconsin a 16-14 lead with a 47-yard field goal with 3:47 remaining in the game.
LSU Last Drive Ends in INT
The Tigers put together a promising drive in the game’s final minute, as Harris completed a 19-yard pass to tight end DeSean Smith to the LSU 44 and crossed midfield with a 7-yard pass to Dupre on third-and-6. Fournette followed with a 15-yard draw to the 30 but left the game with an apparent injury.
Following a false start on LSU, Harris avoided a sack but his pass came up well short of the Tigers receiver and was intercepted.
Attendance at Lambeau Field