Meeting in the middle in Chicago, Notre Dame battled Wisconsin for the first time since 1964. The headlines leading up to this matchup circulated around the quarterback matchup. Senior Jack Coan, Notre Dame’s signal caller, just had transferred from Wisconsin where current freshman quarterback, Graham Mertz, had just nudged him out of the starting position. The drama surged with discussions of which quarterback would prove himself more worthy. In the end, inexperience would be the difference as Wisconsin literally threw the game away.
Soldier Field, relatively equidistant between Madison and South Bend, was appropriately filled with half red and half blue/gold/green. College Gameday descended upon Lake Michigan to highlight this game of the week, and Lee Corso ended the show with his classic donning of headgear – the Irish hat represented his preferred team.
Corso was right. Through three quarters, the game felt like a combination of sloppiness and confusion. Tied at 10-10, the crowd energy reignited with each team’s celebratory third to fourth quarter tradition – 1812 Overture for Notre Dame followed by Jump Around for Wisconsin. The Badgers took the lead 13-10 with 14 minutes left. The Irish rapidly exposed the offensively challenged Badgers with 31 unanswered points coming in the form of a kick six and two Mertz-launched pick sixes.
Jack Coan had suffered an injury that sidelined him earlier in the game, but after Mertz’s meltdown, he walked out of Chicago winning the headlines. Irish fans celebrated with the traditional end-of-game alma mater as Wisconsin fans were flushed from the stadium. At 4-0, Notre Dame had a perfect September as the Badgers are left searching for answers.