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Sports >  WSU football

Difference makers: Nakia Watson leads ground attack in upset of Wisconsin

Sept. 10, 2022 Updated Sat., Sept. 10, 2022 at 5:57 p.m.

By Colton Clark The Spokesman-Review

NAKIA WATSON

The first-year WSU starter and former backup at Wisconsin had a memorable showing in his homecoming, scoring two touchdowns. Watson’s stats weren’t head-turning (10 carries, 34 yards), but he made a couple of plays that he’ll never forget. Watson rumbled in from 2 yards out in the second quarter to open the game’s scoring. He hauled in a check-down pass from quarterback Cameron Ward midway through the third quarter, racing into open field and speeding past the Badger defenders for a 31-yard touchdown that put the Cougars on top for good.

DAIYAN HENLEY

The Cougars’ defensive front flew around and limited the Badgers’ formidable ground game for long stretches in the contest. Several WSU defenders could be singled out for impressive performances, but Henley seemed to be involved all over the field. He led his team for the second consecutive week in tackles (nine) and added 1½ TFLs.

BRAELON ALLEN

The All-American sophomore didn’t break off any game-changing runs, but he was still an immense challenge to contain. The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder rushed for 98 yards on 21 carries, helping the Badgers control the game’s time of possession.

TURNING POINT

WSU opened the second half with a special-teams spark from veteran receiver Renard Bell, who returned a kickoff 73 yards, setting up a scoring drive that instilled some life in a Cougar offense that had a rough first half. Kicker Dean Janikowski converted on a short field-goal attempt. WSU’s defense followed with a three-and-out, and the Cougars’ Air Raid showed spirit on the ensuing possession. Quarterback Cameron Ward threw an interception to Wisconsin’s Jay Shaw, but Coug receiver Lincoln Victor raced the cornerback down and forced a fumble. Four plays later, Ward hit Watson on a check-down pass that went for a 31-yard touchdown. The Cougars flipped the momentum of the game in that sequence, and Wisconsin never led again.

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