Dec 30, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) warms up before facing the Arizona State Sun Devils in the 2021 Las Vegas Bowl at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

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Braelon Allen, Wisconsin rumble past Arizona State in Las Vegas Bowl

Braelon Allen rushed for 159 yards on 29 carries and Wisconsin controlled the ball for the final 9:57 to hold on for a 20-13 victory over Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Thursday night.

Graham Mertz threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jake Ferguson and John Chenal rushed for an 8-yard score for the Badgers (9-4), who led 14-3 after the first quarter. Nick Herbig had two of Wisconsin’s four sacks as the Badgers won for the eighth time in their final nine games.

Jayden Daniels completed 11 of 21 passes for 159 yards and one interception and also rushed for 40 yards for the Sun Devils. Daniyel Ngata had a 3-yard scoring run and B.J. Green recorded two sacks for Arizona State (8-5).

Wisconsin outgained the Sun Devils 294-219. Arizona State had just 60 yards on the ground — Ngata had 23 on 11 carries — without 1,000-yard rusher Rachaad White, who opted out of the game to prepare for the NFL draft.

Mertz completed 11 of 15 passes for 137 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Badgers, who have won seven of their past eight bowl games.

The Sun Devils trailed by 14 at halftime before dominating the third quarter with 90 total yards while holding the Badgers to minus-7.

Ngata’s touchdown with 8:52 left in the third drew Arizona State to within 20-13.

But there would be no late-game drive to knot the score despite the Sun Devils pinning Wisconsin back at its own 3-yard line after a punt with 9:57 remaining in the contest. The Badgers responded with a punishing 18-play, 90-yard drive in which they ran 16 times and chalked up six first downs while eating up the rest of the time on the clock.

Allen carried 12 times for 101 yards in the first half — six more than Arizona State’s total yardage — as the Badgers held a 20-6 lead.

Chenal scored on his 8-yard run for Wisconsin with 11:40 left in the first quarter. The score was set up by John Torchio’s interception of Daniels at the Sun Devils’ 36.

Cristian Zendejas got Arizona State on the board with a 38-yard field goal with 4:21 left before Mertz connected with a wide-open Ferguson to make it 14-3 with 1:37 remaining in the quarter.

Zendejas kicked a 36-yard field goal less than four minutes into the second quarter before Collin Larsh made field goals of 48 and 35 yards to account for the 14-point lead at the break.

–Field Level Media

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