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ReliaQuest Bowl: Badgers Can’t Hold Tigers as LSU Claims 35-31 Win

(Photo by Nancy DeLander Beecher/Florida Sports Wire)

TAMPA (Florida Sports Wire) – LSU quarterback Garrett Nussmeier threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Brian Thomas Jr. with 3:08 to play as the Tigers defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 35-31 in comeback win the ReliaQuest Bowl.

Nussmeier was 31-45 passing for 395 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Thomas had eight receptions for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

The Badgers opened the second half with a 33-yard TD run by Jackson Acker to put them up 38-14.

LSU battled back with two consecutive scores as bowl MVP Nussmeier threw TD passes to Thomas and Chris Hilton.

Wisconsin regained the lead, 31-28, on Nathanial Vakos’ 21-yard field goal.

Wisconsin led 21-14 at the half.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff and drove to their own 43 before having to punt. The Badgers struck first on their initial possession.

QB Tanner Mordecai threw a 20-yard TD pass to Bryson Green. Mordecai hooked up with Will Pauling for a 53-yard pass and catch score at the end of the first quarter. Pauling would haul in a nine-yard TD pass for his second TD of the game in the final minute of the first half.

Mordecai was 27 of 40 passing for 378 yards and three scores. Pauling finished with eight receptions for 143 yards and two TDs.

LSU linebacker Harold Perkins barreled over from the one-yard line for the Tigers first points with six minutes to play in the second quarter. Kaleb Jackson’s 12-yard run tied the game with 1:28 to play in the first half.

Game Notes: With a catch in the first quarter Malik Nabers set an LSU career receiving record with 3,003 yards and 189 receptions. Vakos missed a 51-yard field goal in the second quarter.

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