The Wisconsin Badgers rallied past the Miami Hurricanes 34-24 on Saturday in the Orange Bowl. The Badgers finished the season 13-1 and handed the Hurricanes their third consecutive loss.
Wisconsin 34, Miami 24
Wisconsin 34, Miami 24 (7:44, 4th): Alex Hornibrook throws a 6-yard touchdown pass to receiver Danny Davis, and the Badgers’ offense is clicking. Davis has his 3rd touchdown catch. Hornibrook has thrown for 258 yards with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. Just a tremendous performance all the way around.
Wisconsin 27, Miami 24 (11:34, 4th): Miami kicker Michael Badgley hits a 41-yard field goal to trim the Hurricanes’ deficit to 3 points. This certainly seems like it could be a game that comes down to the final possession. Wisconsin needs to continue to hand the ball off to tailback Jonathan Taylor, who has 23 carries for 121 yards. Nobody else on the team has more than 7 yards rushing.
Wisconsin 27, Miami 21 (3:39, 3rd): Badgers kicker Rafael Gaglianone connects on a 47-yard field goal, his second made field goal tonight. Hornibrook has completed 17 of 27 passes for 184 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s putting together one of his best games at just the right time, and he has plenty of wide receiver help, too.
Wisconsin 24, Miami 21 (8:48, 3rd): Badgers cornerback Derrick Tindal comes up with a big-time interception in the end zone on Miami QB Malik Rosier. Tindal, a Fort Lauderdale native, is playing in his final Badgers game.
Wisconsin 24, Miami 21 (10:52, 3rd): Miami quarterback Malik Rosier throws a 38-yard touchdown pass to receiver Lawrence Cager, who got behind cornerback Nick Nelson. This game has had plenty of momentum swings, and it’s shifted in the Hurricanes’ favor. The crowd will be loud to help Miami stay in the game.
Wisconsin 24, Miami 14 (0:28, 2nd): Wisconsin receiver Danny Davis with his 2nd touchdown catch of the game, this time on a 5-yarder. The receiving trio of Davis, Kendric Pryor and A.J. Taylor has 10 catches for 128 yards with 3 touchdowns. They have been simply phenomenal tonight. When Quintez Cephus comes back healthy next season, that group will be hard to stop.
Wisconsin 17, Miami 14 (5:49, 2nd): Badgers wide receiver A.J. Taylor catches a nice 19-yard touchdown pass, and the Badgers have the lead again. Taylor celebrates by placing an invisible “turnover chain” over teammate Kendric Pryor and then ripping it away. That’s the 2nd such touchdown celebration tonight for the Badgers.
Miami 14, Wisconsin 10 (13:37, 2nd): Badgers wide receiver Danny Davis hauls in a spectacular 20-yard touchdown catch to bring Wisconsin back into the game. Davis a special talent who continues to make acrobatic catches and big plays.
Miami 14, Wisconsin 3 (2:49, 1st): Miami is just rolling through Wisconsin’s defense. Miami’s Deejay Dallas scores on a 39-yard touchdown run out of the Wildcat formation, and it took the Hurricanes only 2 plays on the drive. Wisconsin’s defense has rarely been out-played, but it’s clear Miami’s speed is hurting the Badgers.
Miami 7, Wisconsin 3 (5:21, 1st): Miami running back Travis Homer scores on a 5-yard touchdown run. The Hurricanes had no trouble at all rolling down the field. Quarterback Malik Rosier got loose on two runs that went for 25 total yards. His ability to get out of the pocket and run is a problem for Wisconsin.
Wisconsin 3, Miami 0 (7:58, 1st): Gaglianone buries a 35-yard field goal to put Wisconsin on the board. Nice response by Wisconsin after turning the ball over on its first drive. Jonathan Taylor has 5 carries for 55 yards, which included a 19-yard run up the middle on a draw in which he didn’t seem to know the ball was coming his way.
Wisconsin 0, Miami 0 (11:16, 1st): Badgley misses a 53-yard field goal, and the game is still scoreless. The Hurricanes had a great opportunity after Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor lost his sixth fumble of the season. Instead, Wisconsin takes possession with no damage done.
7:35 p.m.: Wisconsin safety D’Cota Dixon is practicing with the first-team defense during warmups. Dixon has battled a right leg injury since late October and played sparingly since then. His presence would be a huge boost for the Badgers’ defense.
7:20 p.m.: Check out my Facebook Live video from the Hard Rock Stadium Press box. I break down my three keys and offer up a score prediction for Wisconsin-Miami.
5:45 p.m.: Wisconsin has arrived at the Orange Bowl. Kickoff is coming soon.
Wisconsin-Miami football TV channel, time, watch online
Wisconsin and Miami play at 7:10 p.m. CT on Saturday, Dec. 30.
TV channel: Wisconsin vs. Miami is on ESPN.
Time: 7:10 p.m. CT/8:0 p.m. ET
Date: Saturday, Dec. 30
Live stream: WatchESPN.com or via the ESPN mobile app.
Location: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Weather: 72 degrees at kickoff
Wisconsin-Miami football picks, odds
The line: Wisconsin -4 1/2
Four weeks ago, Wisconsin was preparing for arguably the most significant game in program history — vs. Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. A victory would have sent the Badgers to the College Football Playoff for the first time. Wisconsin can still cap off a special season — if the Badgers approach the game the right way.
Miami leads the FBS in sacks per game at 3.58. Eleven different players have recorded at least 2 sacks for the Hurricanes. Badgers quarterback Alex Hornibrook struggles when he can’t set his feet and has to move out of the pocket. This figures to be one of the toughest challenges of the season for Wisconsin’s offensive line — right up there with the Buckeyes.
“All of them are athletic, fast, very physical, especially the linebackers,” Badgers left tackle Michael Deiter told reporters this week. “They don’t think twice about what they see. They go attack, and they play the game the right way. But the only reason they can get pressure is because they’re athletic. They have good technique. All that stuff. … Their whole defensive front can really get after the passer. But they’re also stout in the run, very physical, all that stuff. It’ll be fun.”
Miami quarterback Malik Rosier has had an excellent season, throwing for 2,917 yards with 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. But he also has shown he can run the ball, amassing 427 yards rushing with 5 touchdowns. Wisconsin sometimes struggles with dual-threat quarterbacks, and Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett is the latest example. Anything Wisconsin’s defense can do to take away Miami’s strengths will help the Badgers in the Orange Bowl.
Wisconsin leads the FBS in total defense (253.2 yards per game) and passing efficiency defense. The Badgers are second in run defense (92.6 yards) and third in scoring defense (13.2 points per game).
Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz whipped his group into a frenzy this season by introducing the “turnover chain.” It’s a 10-karat gold chain that players wear, obviously, after forcing a turnover. Few teams have been better in that area this season. Miami has forced 30 turnovers, which is tied for third in the FBS. Wisconsin has uncharacteristically committed 23 turnovers this season, which ranks tied for 102nd in the FBS. As usual, a turnover-free game will go a long way for Wisconsin.
Wisconsin is currently ranked No. 6 in The Associated Press poll. The Badgers have finished the season among the top 10 a total of 12 times, including three top-5 finishes (1942, 1962, 1999).
Wisconsin will rely heavily on running back Jonathan Taylor, who was a Doak Walker Award finalist and the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Taylor leads the Big Ten in rushing — and ranks third nationally — at 142.1 yards per game. He has rushed for 1,847 yards this season and needs 79 yards to break Adrian Peterson’s FBS freshman record of 1,925.