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Badgers edge Auburn in OT thriller in Outback Bowl

Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon ran for an Outback Bowl-record 251 yards and three touchdowns, and Rafael Gaglianone kicked a 25-yard field goal in overtime to lift the Badgers to a 34-31 victory over the Auburn Tigers on Thursday afternoon in Tampa, Florida. Auburn had a chance to tie the game in overtime but kicker Daniel Carlson's 45-yard attempt bounced off the right upright to seal the Wisconsin win.


Gordon, whose longest touchdown run on the day was 53 yards, finished the season with 2,587 yards in 14 games -- second most in FBS history. Barry Sanders gained 2,628 in 11 games in 1988.


Quarterback Joel Stave didn't have his best day, completing just 14 of 27 passes for 121 yards while throwing one touchdown and three interceptions.


It was quite a turnaround from the Badgers' humiliating 59-0 loss to Ohio State last month in the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis. Head Coach Gary Andersen left to take a job at Oregon State University in the following days, leaving Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez to serve as the interim coach for Thursday's game.

Alvarez made the game's most critical decision in the third quarter, with the Badgers trailing and facing fourth-and-1 from their own territory. Alvarez decided to let Heisman Trophy runner-up Gordon pick up the needed yard - and Gordon instead rumbled 53 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. Alvarez also went for it on fourth down in the final minute of the game, needing field position to kick a game-tying field goal, and Joel Stave found Sam Arneson to extend the drive and allow Gaglianone to tie the game. Another field goal in overtime was all Wisconsin would need, as Daniel Carlson's kick hit the right upright.

The Badgers seniors have won a bowl game for the first time at Wisconsin. The Badgers last bowl victory was in December of 2009 at the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando.

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