USC started out the Holiday Bowl by showing they wanted it to be a throwing game. Cody Kessler threw the ball on four of his first five possessions. However, he couldn't find the open JuJu Smith-Schuster. As a result, the plan failed.
The Badgers' defense didn't disappoint everybody who praised it, either. However, the Badgers didn't make any big moves offensively in the first quarter, even though they dominated the ball. The team entered USC territory as the first ended. Fortunately for USC and unfortunately for them, it was too late.
In the second quarter, a video review determined the Badgers scored their first touchdown after some debate. Corey Clement rushed six yards for a Wisconsin touchdown.
USC tried to answer with a touchdown but it was called because of a hold. They got their first touchdown on the next play.
USC happened to be lucky in the worst way. The Badgers' Corey Clement had a tough game and needed to be attended to by trainers. Later in the game, Clement was notably upset on the sidelines and then headed to the locker room. He didn't return to the field.
At the half, USC had rushed for 42 yards and Wisconsin for 99 yards. The Badgers led the game.
The real football game started in the third quarter. USC started to answer Wisconsin. Players like Delvon Simmons were obviously treating the bowl like it was the biggest game of their careers.
Wisconsin's Jack Cichy went all J.J. Watt on Kessler at the end of the third and it caused problems. USC dealt with it. Darreus Rogers caught a pass by Kessler to tie the game 20-20.
Luckily, the referees decided to play for USC for a couple minutes when Badgers' Tanner McEvoy went on a miracle run. But, he was called for going out of bounds. He clearly didn't but whatever it worked out for USC. It wasn't reviewable.
In the last three minutes of play, USC was up by only one point. The Badgers entered USC territory. Wisconsin kicked a 29-yard field goal to take the lead.
Joel Stave had struggled to stop his nose from bleeding on the sidelines but returned to the quarterback position for the final minutes of the game.
The Badgers' Sojourn Shelton intercepted Kessler in the final two minutes. Cichy had pressured Kessler, like he didn't already have NFL scouts drooling.
In the last 25 seconds, Kessler was pressured again and threw the ball out of bounds. It was 2nd-and-10 from the 39-yard line. He threw to JuJu but it was incomplete. Kessler threw one final time, on the fourth down, tt was short, out of bounds and incomplete. Very confusing. It was the last chance USC had.
The Badgers took the game 23 - 21.