Unusual Receiver Wins It for Wisconsin

Lyn Scarbrough

October 26, 2023 at 12:11 pm.

As they started the fourth quarter in Champaign, Ill. on Saturday, few in the stadium or watching the game on television gave Wisconsin much chance to win.

The visiting Badgers trailed 21-7 and had never led in the game. But a 21-yard scoring pass from quarterback Braedyn Locke to wide receiver Will Pauling, a two-point conversion and a 41-yard field goal – and significantly, keeping the Illini off the scoreboard again – had Wisconsin right back in it at 21-18.

But time was almost gone. The Badgers had the ball on the Illini 3-yard line with just 27 seconds left to play.

When they came to the line, the formation was different. Nolan Rucci, a 6-8, 300-pound offensive lineman, took his position at the end of the front line. Nobody lined up outside of him. The old Tackle Eligible.

Locke threw to Rucci, who had who made the short run in the end zone. He caught the pass for the difference maker, as Wisconsin won, 25-21.

The game-winning reception has been chosen as the U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish “Catch of the Week.”

For the game, Locke completed 21 of 41 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns.

Of course, it was the only pass reception of the game for Rucci. Just how rare was it for Rucci to score for his team? After the game, he said that he had not caught a scoring pass since he was in the ninth grade playing tight end in high school at Lilitz, Pa.

Remember … for the tailgate tent or the pre-game party, U. S. Farm-Raised Catfish is always “the winning catch.”

The Catfish Institute, or TCI, was formed in 1986 by catfish farmers and feed manufacturers to raise consumer awareness of the positive qualities of U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish. Since its formation, U.S. per capita consumption has more than doubled.

U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish is a sustainable and environmentally friendly seafood product. The National Audubon Society, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Environmental Defense all recommend U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish as a safe environmental choice. To find out more, visit www.uscatfish.com.

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