BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — When the University of Wisconsin faced one more yard to gain before scoring on two straight drives in the fourth quarter Saturday, anyone could have guessed what play the Badgers would run to finish the job.
Even so, there wasn’t much Indiana could do about it.
Alec Ingold scored on a fullback dive both times, helping UW pull away for a 45-17 victory and giving the junior three touchdowns on the day after he caught an 18-yard score in the second quarter.
"We kept saying he got a hat trick today,” UW running back Jonathan Taylor said. "Any time a back gets into the end zone three times, it’s a good day."
Ingold’s big game came while filling in for the injured Austin Ramesh, who suffered a head injury last week at Illinois.
The fullback scored his three touchdowns on just five touches and has now found the end zone 16.5 percent of the time UW gets the ball in his hands (14 touchdowns on 85 career touches). He’s scored on three of his nine career catches.
“I’ve been confident with Alec, and certainly he came up big,” UW coach Paul Chryst said. "I think he had five touches and three of them were scores, and yet, probably more of what he did and contributes is not with the ball in his hand. And that was kind of how we felt when (Ramesh) was playing. We feel fortunate that you’ve got two really good football players there."
Ingold’s 18-yard receiving touchdown happened at a crucial time, bringing UW back into the game after falling behind 10-0.
It came on a play very similar to the one the Badgers ran against Purdue last season that resulted in a 19-yard touchdown catch for Ingold. From 22 personnel (two tight ends, two backs) on first-and-10, UW ran play-action, pulled left guard Jon Dietzen to the right side in order to sell the fake and allowed Ingold to slip past defenders who were expecting a run.
“I think they’re a man team, and when we go into heavy personnel, they’ll kind of load the box,” UW right tackle David Edwards said. "That’s something we saw on film this week. Once they load the box, you sell a power play and pull the guard so they think it’s a run. It’s typically wide open. It worked."
The Badgers tried to run the play again on third-and-2 from the Indiana 46-yard line late in the third quarter, but they failed to fool Indiana a second time and quarterback Alex Hornibrook looked the other way for a 14-yard completion to Kendric Pryor instead.
The play before Ingold’s first rushing touchdown, which extended UW’s lead to 31-17, he also converted a fourth-and-1 from the 3-yard line. His final score came less than 5 minutes later.
“Once he gets it and there’s not many yards to go, you have a pretty good idea he’s going to get in the end zone,” Hornibrook said.
Ingold said he feels bad about “some blocks I left out on the field” that could have sprung Taylor for bigger gains, but he still helped open up 183 rushing yards for UW’s star running back.
And with the ball in his hands, Ingold couldn’t have been better.
"I’m loving it and I had a lot of fun today,” Ingold said. “I think it was just a part of being ready for the opportunities. Being a backup to (Ramesh), it was my turn to step up for this team, and I just had to be ready."