Wisconsin beats Oklahoma State 24-17 in Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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PHOENIX – Wisconsin had a new coach on the sideline, with the interim coach still calling the shots. The Badgers had several new players in key positions, including quarterback.

A long, sometimes-difficult season came to a conclusion with more adversity – and, eventually, a win.

A 17-point lead nearly erased, Wisconsin dug down for one last defensive play to beat Oklahoma State 24-17 in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl on Tuesday night.

“It ended exactly the way we wanted it to – we got the win,” said Braelon Allen, who ran for 116 yards and scored on a 20-yard touchdown.

Luke Fickell, hired away from Cincinnati after a trip to the College Football Playoff last season, joined the team on the sideline for the bowl game. He wasn’t there to run the show, though; all the decisions were left to interim coach Jim Leonhard.

The Badgers had everything working in the first half. The offense had balance, the defense stifling while they built a 17-point lead.

In the second half, Wisconsin (7-6) bogged down on the slippery Chase Field turf and the defense started giving up chunk plays as the Cowboys rode their way back.

Cedrick Dort finally ended Oklahoma State’s momentum, intercepting Garret Rangel‘s pass with three minutes left, preserving the Badgers’ eighth win in their past nine bowl games.

“This is what I envisioned what this was about from afar,” Fickell said. “And that’s what they’ve shown me over the last three and a half weeks: they want to be here, they want to do it together and they want to do it the right way.”

The Cowboys lost four of five to close out the regular season and struggled offensively while falling into a 24-7 hole midway through the third quarter. Rangel had the lone offensive highlight in the first half with a big assist from Stephon Johnson Jr., who broke a couple of tackles to turn a swing pass into an 84-yard touchdown.

“We had the one big play, but other than that we weren’t able to sustain anything,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said.

Rangel led Oklahoma State back, throwing for 229 yards and two touchdowns in place of Spencer Sanders, who entered the transfer portal.

The freshman improvised on a fourth-and-goal by shoveling a pass to Ollie Gordon while in the grasp of a defender to open the fourth quarter and set up Tanner Brown’s 24-yard field goal to pull the Cowboys to 24-17.

With momentum back on Oklahoma State’s side, Rangel tried make a big play downfield after another Oklahoma State second-half defensive stop. Dort pulled it back to the Badgers by cutting inside John Paul Richardson for what ended up being the game-clinching interception.

“We came out here with a little bit of a reduced roster and new guys were involved, and we had to kind of find our way,” Gundy said. “Guys competed practice hard for three weeks. Had a great week of practice out here, so I was proud of them.”

THE TAKEAWAY

Oklahoma State: the Cowboys revved up their offense a little too late to mount the comeback, leaving coach Mike Gundy at nine bowl wins, tied for seventh place on the career list.

Wisconsin: the Badgers had a new coach on the sideline and several new players a key positions, including quarterback. Wisconsin grinded out the win after its offense stalled, sending Leonhard off with a win.

WOLF’S TURN

Among the many changes Wisconsin faced was at quarterback after Graham Mertz, a three-year starter, entered the transfer portal.

The Badgers turned to fifth-year starter Chris Wolf, who attempted six passes before arriving in the desert.

Wolf had some success on short passes early and found Hayden Rucci on a 15-yard TD pass in the second quarter. He also threw an interception in the end zone on Wisconsin’s second drive and finished 16 of 26 for 116 yards.

“Chase played well. He controlled what he could control, he took shots and I never saw him bat an eye,” Fickell said.

UP NEXT

Wisconsin: Fickell will continue to fill out his staff and roster after losing several players who declared for the NFL draft or went into the transfer portal. Wolf will be back and have momentum on his side after winning a bowl game.

Oklahoma State: The bowl experience should help Rangel headed into next season, when he will be the frontrunner to be the starting quarterback. Most of the Cowboys’ skill players should be back, too.

Clemson gives raises, contract extensions to staff

Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY NETWORK
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CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s board of trustees approved raises for special teams coordinator and cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and defensive tackles coach Nick Eason.

Reed and Eason also received one-year extensions keeping them tied to the Tigers through Jan. 31, 2026.

Reed, who’s been with the Tigers since 2013, had his yearly salary increased $50,000 to $800,000. Eason, the former Clemson standout defensive lineman, joined the staff this past season. He also had his compensation upped by $50,000 to $800,000.

Seven other assistants were given one-year extensions by the trustees’ compensation committee, but without a raise in salary.

Co-defensive coordinators Wes Goodwin and Mickey Conn had their contracts extended through Jan. 31, 2026.

Defensive ends coach Lemanski Hall, tight ends coach Kyle Richardson, offensive line coach Thomas Austin, running backs coach C.J. Spiller and wide receivers coach Tyler Grisham all got one-year extensions through Jan. 31, 2025.

New offensive coordinator Garrett Riley last month received a three-year contract at $1.75 million per season.

Clemson will pay its 10 on-field assistants $7.475 million this season, an increase of $925,000 from the total for 2022.

The Tigers went 11-3 last season, winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

South Carolina’s Beamer suspends three freshmen from program

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Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK
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COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina coach Shane Beamer said freshmen Monteque Rhames II, Anthony Rose and Cameron Upshaw were suspended from the football program.

There was no reason given for the suspensions in the school’s statement Friday. Online records showed Rhames, 18, was booked last night and was being held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on charges of carrying weapons on school property and obstructing justice.

“Our student-athletes know what is expected of them,” Beamer said. “They know that both the university and the football program will hold them accountable for their actions and decisions.”

None of the three have played for the Gamecocks.

Rose is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defensive back from Miami who enrolled in January 2022 and redshirted this season. Rhames and Upshaw were part of South Carolina’s latest recruiting class and enrolled last month.

Rhames is a 6-5, 235-pound defensive lineman from Sumter and Upshaw is a 6-2, 193-pound safety from Perry, Florida.