Capital One Orange Bowl Preview
Dec. 21, 2017

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No. 6 Wisconsin (12-1, 9-0 B1G) will face No. 10 Miami (10-2, 7-2 ACC) in the Capital One Orange Bowl at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Friday, Dec. 30. The game will be aired at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Under the direction of consensus 2017 Big Ten Coach of the Year Paul Chryst, the Badgers completed their first undefeated regular season since going 7-0 in 1912, which earned them a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game. The Badgers’ run of 15 consecutive bowl games is the longest active bowl streak in the Big Ten and is tied for the sixth-longest in the nation entering 2017. This will be Wisconsin's first appearance in the Orange Bowl, which has been in existence since 1935. The Badgers will make their second straight appearance in a New Year's Six bowl, having defeated Western Michigan, 24-16, in the Cotton Bowl last year. It is also UW's 11th bowl game in the state of Florida. The Badgers have gone 5-5 in their previous 10 Florida bowl appearances, including a 34-31 overtime victory over Auburn in the 2015 Outback Bowl.

Led by ACC Coach of the Year Mark Richt, Miami won the ACC Coastal Division for the first time in program history and finished with 10 wins for the first time since 2003. The Hurricanes are looking for their second straight bowl win as they topped West Virginia 31-14 at the 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando. Miami's appearance in the Orange Bowl marks the 41st time in school history the Hurricanes have competed in a bowl game but the first time in a New Year's Six game. The Hurricanes own a 20-20 overall record in 40 previous bowl games. Miami's bowl appearance marks the fifth consecutive year in which the Hurricanes will compete in a postseason game, and the 10th time in program history they have competed in the Orange Bowl. They hold a 6-3 all-time record in the game, including a 16-14 win over Florida State in their last trip to the Orange Bowl in 2004.

This will be the second time Wisconsin and Miami have squared off in a bowl game. The Badgers defeated the Hurricanes, 20-14, in the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando. Overall, the series between the two teams is tied 2-2.


 

 

QUICKIE
STATS

Scoring
Offense

Scoring Defense

Total Offense

Total Defense

Rushing Offense

Rushing Defense

Passing Offense

Passing Defense

Turnover Margin

WISCONSIN

33.8

13.2

416.2

253.2

229.2

92.6

187.0

160.6

+3

MIAMI

29.5

19.9

405.5

359.8

159.7

146.1

245.8

213.7

+15



Wisconsin’s offense ranks second in the Big Ten in rushing (229.2), third in total yards (416.2) and scoring (33.8), and ninth in passing (187.0). The Badgers rank third in the country in third down conversion percentage (48.8), which has helped them move the ball and rank third nationally in time of possession (35:09). Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook ranks eighth in the conference with 183.5 passing yards per game, but has been efficient the majority of the season with a 61.6 percent completion rate and a passer rating of 146.0, good for third in the league. He boasts 2,386 passing yards with 21 touchdowns on the year, but also carries 15 interceptions to his credit as well. Miami will have its sights set on stopping the run and they will face one of the nation’s most talented freshmen. Running back Jonathan Taylor is in the midst of a historic rookie season in which he finished sixth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. The consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection and Doak Walker Award finalist ranks third nationally in rushing at 142.1 yards per game, and needs 79 yards in the Orange Bowl to break Adrian Peterson's FBS freshman record of 1,925. The 2017 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and only true freshman named to the AP All-America squad, Taylor has scored 13 rushing touchdowns and averaged 6.8 yards per carry. A Mackey Award finalist and the Kwalick-Clark Tight End of the Year, senior Troy Fumagalli is the Badgers' leading receiver, with 43 catches for 516 yards and four touchdown grabs, and is a key contributor to UW's ground game, as well. A first-team All-Conference pick and the Big Ten Tight End of the Year, Fumagalli also was a finalist for the Burlsworth Trophy, given to the top player who began his career as a walk-on. Up front Miami will have to contend with first-team All-American right tackle David Edwards, who is joined along the line by guard Beau Benzschawel and tackle Michael Deiter.

Defensively, Miami ranks third in the ACC in scoring (19.9), sixth against the rush (146.1), seventh in total yards allowed (359.8), and eighth in defending the pass (213.7). The Hurricanes, however, made headlines this year with their opportunistic defense where the Hurricanes ranked second in the country with a plus-15 turnover margin and 30 total takeaways, seventh with 13 recovered fumbles and ninth with 17 interceptions. Miami owns the nation’s top sacks average with 3.58 per game and ranks second in the country with 8.8 tackles for loss. Third-team All-ACC end Trent Harris (8.5) and lineman Joe Jackson (6.5) rank second and ninth, respectively, among ACC sacks leaders, while cornerback Michael Jackson safety Jaquan Johnson – both second-team All-ACC selections – are third in the league with four interceptions each. Johnson is the Canes’ leading tackler at 7.1 stops each time out, good for 17th in the conference. Second-team All-ACC lineman RJ McIntosh (12.5), as well as Jackson (11.5), Chad Thomas (10.5), and Michael Pinckney (10.0) lead Miami in tackles for loss. Sophomore linebacker Shaq Quarterman also picked up second-team All-ACC honors.

On offense, the Hurricanes rank fifth in the ACC in scoring (29.5), sixth in passing (245.8) and total yards (405.5), and 10th in rushing (159.7). Miami has been impressive inside the red zone this year, scoring 92.7 percent of the time, which ranks second in the ACC and 11th nationally. Quarterback Malik Rosier has been one of the top signal callers in the ACC this year, ranking first with 25 passing touchdowns, second with 13.69 passing yards per completion, fourth with 2,917 passing yards, and sixth with 243.1 yards per game. Most of the dominance came during Miami’s 10-0 start to the season, but the Hurricanes have been outscored 62-17 in back-to-back losses to Pitt and Clemson, averaging just 223 total yards. Rosier completed just 46 percent of his passes and was sacked seven times during the two losses. Sophomore tailback Travis Homer is seventh in the ACC with 75.2 rushing yards per game and has managed to find the end zone seven times. Third-team All-ACC wideout Braxton Berrios ranks just 13th with 52.8 receiving yards per game, but leads the league and is 21st nationally with nine receiving touchdowns. Senior tight end Christopher Herndon IV earned second-team All-ACC accolades with 3.6 receptions and 43.4 receiving yards per game.

Wisconsin’s defense ranks first in the country in total yards allowed (253.2), second against the run (92.6), third in scoring (13.2), and fourth in defending the pass (160.6). The Badgers are ninth nationally with both 19 interceptions and 26 total takeaways, 12th with 3.00 sacks per game, as well as sixth in first down defense (179) and seventh in third down conversion percentage defense (29.6). UW also adds 6.5 tackles for loss each time out and has recovered nine fumbles on the season. Within the red zone, Wisconsin has limited the opposition to points just 72.7 percent of the time, good for 10th nationally. Runner-up for the Butkus Award, T.J. Edwards has recorded 75 total tackles and 11.0 TFLs as a key part of Wisconsin's top-ranked defense. He also is tied for the team lead with four interceptions – including one returned for a touchdown – and has logged seven pass breakups. Edwards was a consensus first-team All-Big Ten pick this season. Joe Ferguson is also tied with Edwards with four interceptions and shares the team lead with Leon Jacobs with two fumbles recovered this season. Ryan Connelly paces the Badgers in tackles with 6.2 stops per contest. Garret Dooley (0.58), Alec James (0.42) and Andrew Van Ginkel (0.42) all rank in the Big Ten’s top 15 leaders in sacks per game.

On special teams, Wisconsin ranks fourth in the Big Ten in punt return average (8.45), eighth in punt return defense (7.00), and 12th in punting (36.73). Nick Nelson rates fourth-best in the Big Ten in punt returns (8.5) and has one touchdown return to his credit. On kickoffs, the Badgers are eighth in the league in both returns (20.74) and defending returns (19.62). Rafeal Gaglianone is eighth nationally in field goal percentage (87.5), having made 14 of his 16 three-pointers this season. Miami’s special teams unit is headlined by senior kicker Michael Badgley, who was named to the All-ACC First Team. Badgley has made 16 of his 20 field goal attempts this year, ranking fifth in the ACC with an 80-percent clip. As a team, the Hurricanes found success in the punt game. Despite ranking 13th in the ACC in net punting (36.00), Miami rated fifth in the country in punt returns (15.92) and 26th in punt return defense (4.90). The Canes ranked ninth in the ACC in kickoff returns (21.81) and 11th defending kickoff returns (23.57).