Champs Sports Bowl Preview




Dec. 27, 2008


(7-5, 3-5 Big Ten)
Website
Roster | Stats

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL
WISCONSIN vs. FLORIDA STATE
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium - Orlando, Fla.
4:30 p.m. ET - ESPN

Inside the Series:
First Meeting



(8-4, 5-3 ACC)
Website
Roster | Stats

WIS
 
FSU
 
Scoring
28.7
Pts./ Game
32.7
25.2
Pts. Allowed/ Game
20.8
31:22
Time of Possession
31:18
Rushing
212.0
Yds/Game
182.8
133.2
Yds Allowed/ Game
126.8
31
TDs
25

Passing
192.8
Yds/ Game
185.8
189.1
Yds Allowed/ Game
164.9
171-317
Completions/Attempts
188-350
53.9
Completion %
53.7
10/11
TDs/ INTs

16/16
Turnovers
22
Takeaways
23
27
Giveaways
26

SPEED READ
Wisconsin (7-5, 3-5) will take part in the Champs Sports Bowl, the program's fifth straight trip to Florida for a postseason contest. The Badgers will kick off a week-long celebration of Big Ten football in Orlando when they square off against the ACC's Florida State (8-4, 5-3 ACC) on Saturday, Dec. 27 at 4:30 p.m. ET, to be followed by Michigan State playing in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1. Wisconsin will make its first appearance in the Champs Sports Bowl, but returns to Florida after playing in the Outback or Capital One Bowls after each of the last four seasons. Bret Bielema will make his third bowl appearance, including a victory in the 2007 Capital One Bowl and a narrow loss in the 2008 Outback Bowl. Wisconsin will take part in a program-record seventh straight bowl game, breaking the previous record of five consecutive bowl bids set from 1996-2000. The school has played in 19 overall bowl games with a 10-9 record. The Big Ten has produced a record of 1-3 in the Champs Sports Bowl, including a victory by Illinois in 1999 when it was known as the Micronpc.com Bowl.

With the Champs Sports Bowl invitation, Florida State extended its bowl streak to 27 straight, a mark that leads the nation.  The Seminoles will be facing Wisconsin for the first time, but they also boast an 8-2-1 record all-time against current Big Ten opponents.  The Badgers have recorded an equally impressive mark against the ACC, having gone 5-2 in seven contests, which included a 34-20 win over Duke in the 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl.  The last time FSU faced a Big Ten opponent was in the 2006 Orange Bowl when the Seminoles fell to Penn State in a 26-23 triple overtime thriller.

SCOUTING REPORT
The stats on the paper tell us that we should be in store for quite the smash-mouth football contest that pits a high-powered Wisconsin rushing attack against a stingy Florida State defense.  The Badgers enter the contest ranked 14th in the country with 212.0 rushing yards per game, while the Seminoles are 43rd nationally in giving up 133.25 yards on the ground.  UW boasts a potent rushing attack behind P.J. Hill (85.1) and John Clay (70.4).  The Badgers ranked third in the Big Ten this year with 404.8 yards of total offense each game.  Junior quarterback Dustin Sherer has been trying to find a constant rhythm all year and appeared to be quite poised in leading the Badgers past the upset-minded Cal Poly in the regular season finale.  Sherer, who averages 125.7 passing yards per game, was 13-of-22 for a career-high 245 yards and one TD.  That same game saw sophomore WR David Gilreath register four catches for a career-high 125 yards.  Florida State’s defense ranks 13th nationally with just 291.8 total yards allowed each game.  The Seminoles made their mark this year by defending the pass, giving up 164.9 yards in the air – the nation’s eighth-best mark.  FSU also ranked sixth in the country with 3.0 sacks per game and second overall with an impressive 8.58 tackles for loss each time out. Junior Everette Brown ranked third nationally with 12.5 sacks and 20.5 TFLs.  Teammate Derek Nicholson, who added 15.0 TFLs on the year, is the team’s leading tackler with 6.3 stops per game.  However, the Seminole defense was inconsistent at times throughout the year and in the team’s four losses, FSU allowed an average of 210 rushing yards per game.

On offense, Florida State racked up 368.7 yards and 32.7 points per outing this season, while Wisconsin allowed 322.3 and 25.2, respectively.  The Seminoles are led by sophomore QB Christian Ponder, who struggled getting settled this season.  Ponder ranked eighth in the ACC with 150.6 passing yards per game, but threw 13 interceptions to only 12 touchdowns on the year.  Junior Preston Parker averaged 4.0 receptions per game.  On the ground, senior tailback Antone Smith is 10th in the league with 62.8 yards each game, but paces all ACC runners with 14 touchdowns on the year.  In part due to an inexperience offensive line, the Seminoles have had to rely on kicker Graham Gano this season, who was recently named the Lou Groza Award winner.  The senior is tops among all kickers in the country with an impressive 24-of-26 field goal accuracy rate.  Defensively, Wisconsin is led by junior Jaevery McFadden and his 6.7 tackles per game.  Sophomore Niles Brinkley paces the secondary with four interceptions on the year, while classmate Jay Valai topped the Big Ten with three forced fumbles in 2008.  Senior Allen Langford ranked third in the conference with 1.17 passes defended each game.  Unfortunately for the Badgers, linebacker Jonathan Casillas will not be making the trip as he recently had surgery on his knee.  Casillas was third on the team with 6.2 stops each time out.

 


 

 

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