The Wisconsin Badgers put a whipping on the University of Miami for the second season in a row in a 35-3 victory, finishing with an 8-5 record. Not bad for a “disappointing” season, huh?
Traditionally, this is where I would explain how the game ended up how it did and recap some of the major moments, but Jake’s recaps do a better job of that than I do in here—so we are going to jump right into the three things.
While these are “three things we learned,” I’m going to call an audible and change it to: “3 takeaways from the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl as the Badgers head into the offseason.”
This was not a meaningless bowl game to the players
There were a lot of awful opinions going around the UW fan base that it did not matter what bowl game the team played in, and that the game was meaningless because the Badgers were not in the playoff picture like some fans felt they should have been in.
What an awful take.
As you could see, this game meant an awful lot to a lot of the seniors on this Wisconsin team, who truly enjoys playing with each other. The team cherished this final opportunity to send the seniors out on a high note.
Jonathan Taylor will be a top-2 Heisman candidate next season
Obviously there is a long way to go before the 2019 Heisman Trophy is handed out, but the two odds-on favorites to win the award next season have to be Taylor and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.
Taylor played as advertised on Thursday night, rushing for over 200 yards for the eighth time in his short career. The way Taylor and Wisconsin jumped all over Miami from the outset of the ball game seemed to suck the soul out of the Hurricanes before they could get out of the blocks in Yankee Stadium.
The sophomore back finished the season strong, not only running effectively (2,194 yards, 7.1 yards per carry), but he finished the year on a much more encouraging note from a ball security standpoint. Taylor’s fumbling maladies from earlier in the season seem like a long, long time ago.
The Quarterback Position is ... murky
Obviously the huge caveat here is the future of Alex Hornibrook’s football career. If he is healthy, I fully anticipate him lining up under center in Week 1 of next football season.
However, we don’t have a crystal ball, so Jack Coan could certainly put himself in a position to be the starter in 2019. While he was not a world-beater against the Hurricanes, he did enough to operate within the scope of the offense. I thought he looked a ton better with a game plan tailored to his strengths and he looked much more comfortable, for the most part, in the passing game.
I think Danny Vanden Boom, and yes, Graham Mertz, could have something to say about who starts next season as the signal caller for Wisconsin, but it all circles back to the health of Hornibrook, who is closing in on the Wisconsin all-time record for wins as a starter. [ed. note: everyone forgetting about Chase Wolf smh]
However things end up, it’s going to be a fun ride, and I hope we see y’all along with us here at B5Q next season.