Make it five straight bowl wins for the Badgers.
Overcoming an ugly first half that saw two missed field goals and a bad interception, the Wisconsin Badgers lit up Miami on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, winning the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl 35-3.
Sophomore running back Jonathan Taylor was the star of the show on offense, rushing for over two hundred yards and a score. The Badgers forced five turnovers, chasing Miami starting quarterback Malik Rozier in the third quarter.
Here are the unit grades.
Bowl swagging! Bowl surfing!#OnWisconsin // #Badgers pic.twitter.com/1Q4030JXt5— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) December 28, 2018
Wisconsin left oodles of points on the field in the first half, but ultimately did more than enough to win, rolling up 406 total yards—including 333 yards rushing.
Sophomore quarterback Jack Coan, starting for the injured Alex Hornibrook, threw for 73 yards with a touchdown and an interception while running for another score.
Coan started the game well, tossing a smooth 35-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Kendric Pryor to open the scoring. With Wisconsin driving to go up three scores in the first quarter, Coan tossed a horrible interception, badly overthrowing receiver Danny Davis III. The second-year quarterback struggled for the rest of the half, but looked much better in the second half.
Taylor was superb, running for 205 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries. Taylor averaged 7.6 yards per carry (by contrast, Coan averaged 6.6 yards per pass). A weak chop block penalty call on Taylor erased a Coan touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore tight end Luke Benzschawel in the second quarter.
The defense led the way for the Badgers, holding the Hurricanes to just three points and 169 total yards of offense (only 48 yards passing). Wisconsin forced five turnovers and nearly had at least two more.
Redshirt sophomore safety Eric Burrell intercepted Rosier’s first pass of the game to set the tone for the defense.
ERIC BURREL WITH THE INTERCEPTION!— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) December 27, 2018
EXCITING THINGS ARE HAPPENING AND WE CAN'T EVEN KEEP UP WITH THE TWEETS. ALL CAPS FOR THE TIME BEING. pic.twitter.com/la9jaGHLcJ
With the Badgers offense scuffling in the second quarter, inside linebacker Chris Orr picked off Rosier, but Wisconsin failed to capitalize as kicker Rafael Gaglianone missed his second kick of the half.
Redshirt senior inside linebacker T.J. Edwards grabbed a pair of turnovers, recovering a Travis Homer fumble in the second quarter and snagging Wisconsin’s third interception midway through the third quarter. That killing off a Miami drive in Badgers territory that led to another UW touchdown. Redshirt sophomore cornerback Caesar Williams capped the turnover-fest with a fourth quarter pick.
Special Teams: D
Redshirt senior kicker Rafael Gaglianone missed two field goals horrendously in the first half. He finished 0-for-2 on field goal attempts but converted all five of his extra point attempts.
Junior punter Anthony Lotti punted four times, averaging 34.8 yards per punt. The Badgers gave up a 35-yard punt return to DeeJay Dallas in the third quarter.
Jack Dunn returned four punts, averaging just 1.8 yards per attempt. His willful disregard for the fair catch rule was admirable, but nearly led to great bodily harm.
Turnovers, missed field goals, penalties erasing touchdowns—oh my.
It was ugly for a while, but a blowout bowl victory over a Power Five program is a great way to cap an up-and-down season.
The team showed growth from its late season struggles, particularly Coan and the young secondary.
The normal offseason discussions of position battles, coaching and “The Great 2019 Quarterback Debate” loom large for the long months leading up to fall camp, but in the meantime the team (and fan base) go into the offseason riding high.