After a Badger football season plagued by injuries which hampered preseason expectations, the University of Wisconsin football team (7-5) finished on a high note in New York where they beat the Miami Hurricanes (7-5) in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl 34-3 Thursday night.
A signature Badger offense was not in short supply as the rush attack and defense were able to showcase their weapons and dominate the Hurricanes. Sophomore running back Jonathan Taylor finishing with 205 yards on 27 carries and the Wisconsin defense forced five turnovers on the night.
The Badger offense was hot out of the gate in the first quarter, capitalizing on Taylor’s consistent pickups to set up a 35-yard Jack Coan touchdown pass to wide receiver Kendric Pryor which capped a drive of just six plays. Coan started in place of junior quarterback Alex Hornibrook who was sidelined with ongoing concussion symptoms. In starting, Coan surrendered his redshirt season with his fourth start and fifth appearance of the year.
Miami, who hasn’t had a consistent starter at quarterback all season, put the ball into Malik Rosier’s hands. Rosier’s first passing play was intercepted by safety Eric Burrell and returned to the six-yard line which would set up and easy, one-play touchdown run for Taylor to extend the Badger lead to 14.
This would be the first of three interceptions forced by the Badger defense until Rosier was replaced by N’Kosi Perry late in the third quarter.
Coan would record a modest stat line on the evening, completing sux of 11 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown — but the team win shone brightly and he was a driving force behind it.
The Miami offense was smothered by a dominant Wisconsin defensive effort. Their lone score would come at the end of the first quarter, where a 62-yard Rosier run set up a field goal.
A long drive in the second quarter led by the Wisconsin tailbacks set up a field goal attempt by Rafael Gaglianone. Gaglianone, having missed six field goals throughout a forgettable senior season, would miss his attempt. He’d have a shot at redemption later in the quarter but that attempt too sailed wide.
A Badger defense looking to sustain energy after the missed field goals continued to step up. A forced fumble by linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel was recovered by linebacker T.J. Edwards, making Miami’s “turnover chain” look like it belongs to the wrong team.
During a late half drive from Wisconsin, a chop block foul would erase another touchdown, but the Badgers ended the half with a 14–3 lead.
The Badger defense returned out of halftime without skipping a beat, forcing another scoreless quarter. The third quarter shutout was accompanied by a two-yard Alec Ingold touchdown to extend the Wisconsin lead to 18.
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With Miami switching quarterbacks mid-quarter, the Hurricanes were desperate for a rejuvenated offense but saw nothing different from their new quarterback. Perry was quickly intercepted by cornerback Caesar Williams which totaled five Miami turnovers.
Coan added to his passing performance by executing a rushing touchdown of his own which put the Badgers up big 28–3.
Wisconsin continued to dominate throughout the fourth quarter on both sides of the ball, winding down the clock and adding a Taiwan Deal rushing touchdown which more than sealed a 35–3 victory in New York City.
The Badgers finish the year with an 8-5 record and with a late fourth-quarter lead, Head Coach Paul Chryst was able to get some of his younger players some touches and experience looking forward to next season.
While Wisconsin’s final record would come as a shock to those who predicted a potential College Football Playoff run preseason, a 32-point blowout win at the hands of a backup quarterback and hampered receiving corps can only warm the hearts of Badger fans who too often felt heartbreak in 2018.