Wisconsin put the Miami Hurricane offense on ice at the Florida Citrus Bowl on Tuesday night during a dominating 20-14 win in front of a record 56,747 fans at the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl. Wisconsin fans can follow the Badgers with Direct TV Madison WI.
Miami got battered and bruised on a chilly December night by the Badgers, who looked as though they thrived off of the atypical 50-degree conditions in Orlando. Wisconsin allowed just 188 yards through the air and 61 yards on the ground while sacking Hurricane quarterback Jacory Harris five times in the win.
“One of our main goals was to get after their quarterback,” said Wisconsin Coach Brett Bielema. “When he goes, they go. We felt we kind of disrupted his rhythm all day.”
The Badgers gave up just 2-of-11 conversions on third down and snuffed out all three attempts on fourth down by the Hurricanes. O’Brien Schofield tied a Champs Sports Bowl record with two sacks and also forced a fumble.
When Wisconsin was on the offensive – which was nearly 20 minutes more than Miami – they controlled the clock with precise passes from quarterback Scott Tolzien until the typical dose of Badger run blocking helped generate an MVP performance from John Clay, this year’s Big Ten standout on that side of the ball.
Clay rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, including a huge 51-yard gain in the second quarter, while Montee Ball compiled 61 yards rushing on 15 carries.
“Wisconsin football, we just run the ball,” said Clay afterwards. “Third, fourth quarter, you could see them sucking air, they had their hands on their hips just waiting for this to get over with.”
Doing most of the chasing around for Miami was linebacker Darryl Sharpton. The senior tallied the second-most tackles in Champs Sports Bowl history with 15 (10 solo, 5 assisted) to his credit.
Randy Neal of Virginia (1994) and Chad Brown of Colorado (1991) hold the record with 17 tackles apiece.
But Wisconsin ran for 170 yards in all and Tolzien threw for 260 yards on 19-of-26 attempts and one interception, which came on a tipped pass.
Tight ends Lance Kendricks and Garrett Graham were his primary targets as Kendricks hauled in seven passes for 128 yards and Graham caught six balls for 77 yards.
The game remained a close one on the scoreboard in the second half but was far more out of control than Miami (9-4) would have liked. Wisconsin finishes the year 10-3 overall.
“I think the key was just focusing on the next play,” said Tolzien. “You could see Miami was maybe getting tired. But I think the key for us was just focusing on us and to just keep grinding (it out).”
As for the Hurricanes, their first 10-win season since 2003 will have to wait another year as they never were really able to keep up with the Badgers.
“Things just didn’t happen our way,” said Miami Coach Randy Shannon. “I can’t explain why. They just didn’t go our way tonight.”
Reprinted with permission of KnightNews.com’s sports partner, OrlandoSportsCentral.com. Visit OrlandoSportsCentral.com for more Knights sports news, plus all your local sports needs including: high school football, Orlando Magic and more!