BRONX, NY — Wisconsin (8-5) finished out its season on a high note with a 35-3 beatdown of Miami (7-6) in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night.
Offense: Jonathan Taylor
The best running back in college football was at it again against the Hurricanes, racking up 205 yards and a touchdown for the Badgers. His night earned him bowl MVP honors.
Taylor topped 2,000 yards for the season on his second carry of the game and finished the year with 2,194 yards, the second-most in Wisconsin history. It’s also the seventh-most in NCAA history and it leaves him with 4,171 yards in his career — the third-most over a two-year stretch by an FBS player.
All of these numbers say what everyone already knows: Jonathan Taylor is a special back and is now in position to go down as best to ever play the position at Wisconsin.
It’s hard to pick just one guy from a unit that dominated an inept Miami offense, so we’ll choose the linebackers that stood out. Seniors T.J. Edwards and Andrew Van Ginkel, along with junior Chris Orr, combined for 25 tackles, four tackles for loss, two interceptions, one sack, one forced fumble and one recovered fumble. The Hurricanes had 121 yards rushing but nearly half of that came on one play. The rest of the way they had 22 carries for 59 yards. It was the most impressive effort from the defense the entire season and a throwback to what we’d seen in recent seasons on that side of the ball.
Special Teams: Jack Dunn
Save for one punt that he let bounce all the way down to the 2-yard line, the Wisconsin punt returner saved the Badgers quite a few yards. Miami punter Jack Spicer used low line drive kicks that spent very little time in the air and were difficult to field. But Dunn constantly got on them and was sure-handed, setting the Badgers up time-and-time again with solid field position.
“We woke up this morning and he’s got all this excitement I’ve never seen out of him. He started shaking me and was like, ‘Let’s go.’ I knew right there it was going to be a good game from him.”
— TE Jake Ferguson on QB Jack Coan. The sophomore, starting in his home state for the first time, was 6-for-11 for 73 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for a touchdown.
“I definitely know there’s going to be some competition for the position. We’ve kind of seen it just throughout this season. This spring, it’s going to be a time for the coaches to figure out — and the team to figure out — who’s going to be that guy that takes us to the next level.”
— WR A.J. Taylor on a potential quarterback competition prior to next season
“He’s definitely done his 1/11th and then some. I’m just glad he’s on our side. That kid is special. All you have to do is give him a little bit of something and he’s going to make you right even if you’re wrong. Glad he’s on our side.”
— OL Michael Deiter on what Jonathan Taylor has done his first two years
In Case You Missed It
— Jack Coan made his fourth start and his fifth appearance this season. The latter means he won’t be able to count this as a redshirt year and will make him a junior in 2019.
— Wisconsin was without several injured starters, including senior D’Cota Dixon and junior tackle David Edwards.
— Sophomore Tyler Biadasz said afterward he hasn’t decided whether he’ll return to Wisconsin or turn pro. He said he’ll go home and talk with family and coaches before making his choice. He did say he believes he’s ready for the league but more goes into it.
“It’s just that your opportunity comes and it depends on when you want to seize that opportunity,” Biadasz said. “That’s kind of what I have to think about right now.”
— Several former Badgers were at the game, including wide receiver Lee Evans and running back Corey Clement.
Inside the Numbers
5 — That’s how many bowl games Wisconsin has won in a row. It’s the first time a team has won five straight as a member of the Big Ten.
10 — That’s how many interceptions T.J. Edwards finished his career with, the most by any linebacker in school history.
3-0 — That’s Wisconsin’s record against Miami in bowl games. All of them have come in the last 10 seasons with the Badgers beating the Hurricanes in the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl, the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl and now the 2018 New Era Pinstripe Bowl.
10 — That’s how many consecutive seasons Wisconsin has won at least eight games.
5-6 — That’s Paul Chryst’s record as an underdog in his four seasons.