Brent's Take: Wisconsin bowl struggles continue

Here’s a stat that’s hard to believe: Wisconsin’s 34-24 loss to South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl marks the program’s sixth defeat in its last seven bowl games. The lone win during the streak was a 20-14 win over Miami in the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl. See my Capital One Bowl honors and grades in this post.

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BEST OF CAPITAL ONE BOWL

Best play: Trickeration is something we see a lot more of in bowl games, and South Carolina provided one of the best trick plays we’ve seen this bowl season. It was almost like something out of a video game.

Best player: South Carolina QB Connor Shaw. Let’s see, he threw three touchdown passes, ran for a touchdown and caught a touchdown. He also accounted for 369 total yards. Yeah, he was kind of good. That said, South Carolina WR Bruce Ellington was stellar, too (6 rec., 139 yards, 2 TD).

Best moment: Kenzel Doe’s 91-yard kickoff return for a score. Not only did Doe show fantastic speed on the return, he displayed a little power with a terrific stiff arm on his way to the end zone.

Best tweet:

Best stat: The stat in the tweet above is pretty good. But there’s this, too: James White needed just 63 yards to give Wisconsin the first teammate duo in FBS history with 1,400 yards apiece, and he ran for 106 yards to join teammate Melvin Gordon and help Wisconsin make history.

GRADES

Offense: C. The ground attack gets an “A” for amassing 294 yards, but the passing attack earns a “D,” at best, for its 113 passing yards and three picks. Add it all up, and let’s call it a C. To be fair, Joel Stave did get hurt late in the third quarter, and two of the interceptions belong to backup Curt Phillips.

Defense: D+. Connor Shaw absolutely dissected the Badgers, to the tune of 22-of-25 (89 percent) for 311 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. What’s more, the 34 points allowed marked the most Wisconsin surrendered this season.

Special Teams: C+. There was good (Doe’s aforementioned 91-yard kickoff return), and there was bad (missed field goal and failed fake field goal).

FINAL THOUGHTS

It was over when: Skai Moore picked off backup quarterback Curt Phillips with 3:14 left and with the Badgers down 34-24. Wisconsin was driving in South Carolina territory and looked poised to make it a one-score game. Didn’t happen, thanks to Moore’s impressive interception.

What worked: The rushing game, of course. The Badgers, fresh off two of their worst ground performances of the year, racked up 286 yards, on 42 carries, averaging 6.8 yards per pop. Melvin Gordon (144) and James White (106) each eclipsed the 100-yard barrier, while Corey Clement busted loose for a 32-yard scamper on his lone carry.

What didn’t work: The passing game. It was terrible, to be honest. Yes, Joel Stave threw a pair of touchdowns, but he only had 79 yards and an interception before he left the game with a shoulder injury. His replacement, Curt Phillips, tossed two interceptions. Together, Stave and Phillips combined to complete 16-of-25 for 113 yards, two touchdowns and three picks.

About Brent Yarina BTN.com senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for BTN.com. He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.

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Show Comments (6 Comments)
6 Post Your Comment
Jim in Raymond on 1/1/2014 @ 5:33pm EDT Said:

The BEST running backs in college football and Wisconsin calls a pass play AND FAILS on 4th & 1 and on 3rd & 1…
would it not be wise to play the game that got you to the bowl game…?
RUN THE BALL, WISCONSIN!!!

Tom Leix on 1/1/2014 @ 7:59pm EDT Said:

Tom in Indianapolis–Four years in a row Wisconsin has opponents gasping against the run game and then starts throwing on first down, fourth downs and trying to be fancy. I don’t get it. Extra aggravating is the lack of a passing game, receivers….the officials allowing a late SC offensive player to run on the field and get set, a huge non-call on a facemask against Stave on a third-down sack…I hope Coach Andersen is fully on top of needs and will correct going forward.

Mary Brennan on 1/1/2014 @ 8:14pm EDT Said:

Wisconsin looked terrible, played worse, yet your recap of the Nebraska win makes it seem you thought we looked as bad as did Wisconsin. You graded Nebraska poorly, but why should anyone be surprised because have written your reviews drooling all over Wisconsin and dumping on Nebraska. Huskers made the Big Ten proud today. Who else has done that yet in this bowl season? Your writing is a joke. GBR!

budgerfan on 1/1/2014 @ 8:24pm EDT Said:

The best running backs in college football? Well now it would not seem that way would it?

matt on 1/2/2014 @ 5:07am EDT Said:

@budgerfan if any ONE of those 3 backs for wisconsin had the carries any other feature back had, we would be talking hiesman trophy winner, not just “among the best backs in college football” they are THAT talented…….. think about it, TWO backs OVER 1400 yards, with NO passing game to take defenders out of the box. I was amazed south carolina didnt cram the box with 9 and 10 defenders all game.

all that being said, wisconsin’s defensive weaknesses this year were just not a good matchup against south carolina, a primarily passing team. The secondary should be better next year with another year of seasoning.
QB play I’ve been dogging all year, HOPEFULLY that can get sorted out over the summer, and unless stave suddenly learns to deliver passes on time and accurately, it BETTER be someone else, even if he cant throw the ball 50 yards.

Most UW fans who were honest with themselves knew at the very least this was a bad matchup for a bowl game, hell, bama or LSU would be a better matchup. Lets hope there isnt a significant drop off on D next year with all the graduations. GO BUCKY!

Dave on 1/2/2014 @ 3:38pm EDT Said:

THIS was the game that disappointed me most. I was looking for UW to run, run, run..and wear down the SC defense, and keep SC offense off the field..

The announcers, tho…..talk about showing an SEC bias. I was fully expecting them to kneel down in front of Shaw with a 100 carat diamond.

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