It was a good week for Badger State football fans as the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers each got big victories.

Graham Mertz accounted for three touchdowns and Wisconsin turned four second-half interceptions into 21 points to beat Wake Forest 42-28 in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl last Wednesday.

Mertz, a redshirt freshman, threw for 130 yards and ran for two short touchdowns — the first rushing TDs of his career — as Wisconsin (4-3) finished a challenging 2020 season on a high note. The victory gives the Badgers a 19th-consecutive season with a winning record, the third-longest streak among FBS teams.

The Badgers also improved to 17-15 all-time in bowl games and have won six of their last seven bowls, dating to the 2014 season.

With the game tied at 21 late in the third quarter, Noah Burks intercepted Wake Forest’s Sam Hartman on a pass in the flat when the intended receiver failed to turn his head around. Burks returned the ball 41 yards to set up a 14-yard scoring strike from Mertz to Mason Stokke on a wheel route, giving the Badgers their first lead.

Hartman, who had thrown only one interception all season, was picked off on the next three possessions as well.

Scott Nelson had a 60-yard interception return and Collin Wilder returned a pick 72 yards to set up short TD runs that gave the Badgers a 42-21 lead, resulting in Hartman getting benched. Jack Sanborn had 11 tackles and an interception and was named MVP of the game.

Then on Sunday, the Packers ensured that the road to the Super Bowl will come through wintry Green Bay after they secured the No. 1 seed in their 35-16 win over the Chicago Bears. 

For the first time since 2011, the Packers have the opportunity to play at Lambeau Field in January for the playoffs.The Packers were in control of the game, lost it, but got it back again when it mattered most.

A key fourth-down stop on defense in the fourth quarter spurred a strong finish on both sides of the ball for the Packers. The Bears trailed just 21-16 and were driving for a possible go-ahead score. Having converted four times on fourth-and-short on the day, Chicago went for it again on fourth-and-1 from the Green Bay 25 with just over 11 minutes left.

But the Packers finally got the stop they needed, and what followed were a touchdown by ?Aaron Jones?, an interception by ?Adrian Amos? and a record-tying touchdown by ?Davante Adams? to put the game away.

For Badgers’ and Packers’ fans, it was a great way to end 2020 and start 2021.