The University of Wisconsin may need a turnover chain if its own after today’s Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
The Badgers (8-5) recorded five takeaways in a 35-3 victory over the Miami Hurricanes (7-6), capping off the year with a fifth straight bowl win and a dominant performance in a season that didn’t produce many of them.
UW’s first defensive snap at Yankee Stadium foreshadowed what was to come throughout the night for a struggling Miami offense — when Eric Burrell stepped in front of a Malik Rosier pass and returned it 30 yards to the Miami 7-yard line to kick off arguably Wisconsin’s best defensive outing of the season.
Jonathan Taylor, who finished with 205 yards on 27 carries, his fifth 200-yard day of the season, punched it in on the next play, giving the Badgers a 14-0 lead three and a half minutes into the game. UW quarterback Jack Coan hit Kendric Pryor for a 35-yard touchdown pass on the game’s first possession.
The final 26:30 of the first half became, like much of this season, full of missed opportunities for UW’s offense. The Badgers ran the ball seven straight times their next possession, putting UW in field-goal range, before Coan tossed an interception to Jaquan Johnson after escaping pressure to get outside the pocket.
An 11-play drive on the next possession led to no points after Rafael Gaglianone missed a 41-yard field goal, and the Senior also missed from 39 yards out later in the second quarter.
Wisconsin’s defense continued to do its part, though. The Badgers forced three turnovers on Miami’s first six possessions.
Miami’s best chance at the end zone came when Van Ginkel lost containment on a second quarter read-option, allowing Rozier to run 62 yards to the UW 30-yard line, but the Badgers still held on to force a 33-yard field goal and take a 14-3 lead into halftime.
The Hurricanes finished with 169 total yards, including just 48 through the air.
“People have been doubting us all season,” cornerback Rachad Wildgoose said. “We dominated today, as you can see. It felt good — I ain’t gonna lie.”
‘Must Win’ was uttered several times by players who understood the gravity of finishing on a high note. Dominating an opponent who owned all the variables (revenge) was a statement even in an off Broadway production (lesser bowl) especially beating Miami at its own game: suffocating defense.
The 32-point win is also the biggest bowl win in program history.
The UW defense may revolve around the secondary in 2019 given the returning skill, number of different starters and combinations utilized. Zack Baun and Chris Orr will be the catalysts in the front seven. Loudermilk, Williams, and Henningson will benefit from seasoning under fire. Rand’s return will be another plus.