Sept. 17, Camp Randall
Quarterback Alex Hornibrook said he didn’t feel pressure when making his collegiate debut for the University of Wisconsin in the second half against Akron last week — not a particularly strong statement when his job was protecting a 23-point lead.
He replaced starter Bart Houston again at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday. This time, though, the task placed upon the redshirt freshman was sparking the No. 9 team in the country past a Sun Belt foe threatening to pull off one of the most shocking upsets in recent memory.
Hornibrook made his role Saturday appear as easy as the week before.
UW’s offense came to life after Hornibrook’s first drive led to the game’s first touchdown, and the Badgers escaped a near-embarrassment by hanging on for a 23-17 win over Georgia State.
"It was kind of the same mindset for me,” Hornibrook said. "I wanted to score last week, and I wanted to score this week."
That simplification was something UW couldn’t see through over the game’s first 39 minutes with Houston under center, even if the shortcomings didn’t all fall on the shoulders of the fifth-year senior.
A third-down play in the red zone was stopped just short. Running back Bradrick Shaw fumbled on the Georgia State 1-yard line. The usually sure-footed Rafael Gaglianone missed a 30-yard field goal. It didn’t make things any easier that star running back Corey Clement was out with an ankle injury he suffered against Akron last week.
When Hornibrook took the field, though, everything clicked.