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Badgers build a wall around Wake Forest in second half for Duke’s Mayo Bowl win

Wisconsin came loaded for bear in the Clash for The Condiment, turning in an outstanding defensive performance in the second half.

Quarterback Graham Mertz of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates following a touchdown drive against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the fourth quarter of the Duke’s Mayo Bowl at Bank of America Stadium on December 30, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Thanks to four interceptions by quarterback Sam Hartman, the Wisconsin Badgers were able to pull away for a 42-28 win in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl from Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday afternoon.

Hartman threw picks on four straight possessions in the third quarter before being benched, finishing with a 20/37 for 318 yards and three touchdowns along with the turnovers. Neither team could move the ball on the ground, with Wisconsin averaging just 2.9 yards per rush and the Demon Deacons 3.2 even including garbage time.

Wisconsin freshman quarterback Graham Mertz avoided the turnover issues that plagued him in 2020, going just 11-17 for 130 yards and a touchdown with zero interceptions. Wide receiver Jack Dunn was his leading target with six catches for 60 yards.

The game was tied 14-14 at halftime, and Wake Forest took the lead with a five-play, 50-yard drive to go up a touchdown with 11 minutes left in the third quarter. But from there it was all straight downhill, as their next seven drives went turnover on downs, interception, interception, interception, interception, turnover on downs.

A late rushing touchdown from Christian Beal-Smith requiring a lot of timeouts and disinterested defense cut the final score to a 14-point loss.

While the official Duke’s Mayo Bowl account teased what would have been a glorious smothering of Badgers head coach Paul Chryst in mayonnaise following a victory...

It turned out the tub was filled with mere water, to the clear disappointment of the internet.