NEW YORK — For the Miami Hurricanes, a disappointing season has finally ended.
And in many ways, the final game mirrored the ugliness of the past four months, a stretch during which Miami saw itself dealing with quarterback questions, lackluster offensive play overall and a handful of defense lapses that later on proved too much to overcome.
For the fourth time this season, Hurricanes coach Mark Richt made a change at quarterback, giving redshirt senior Malik Rosier the start after redshirt freshman N'Kosi Perry struggled against Pittsburgh in the regular-season finale and was embroiled in some off-field social media issues since.
But accuracy and consistency were issues for Rosier who threw three interceptions that not only helped fuel Wisconsin's eventual 35-3 win over Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl, but landed him back on the bench as Richt inserted Perry into the game in the third quarter, hoping to spark the Hurricanes' offense.
Perry, however, fared just as badly as Rosier, completing just one of his five pass attempts and throwing an interception, one of five Miami turnovers on the day coupled with Rosier's picks and a Travis Homer fumble.
The Badgers ultimately scored 21 points off those turnovers and in all, the Hurricanes managed just six first downs to Wisconsin's 20; 121 rushing yards to the Badgers' 333; and 169 total yards to Wisconsin's 406.
"Offensively, there's not many nuggets you can really pull from today," Richt said. "It wasn't a very good performance, just put it that way, obviously. Starts with me, for sure. That's really where the buck stops. Head football coach, play-caller, the whole bit. Just a poor job by me."
He continued, "Didn't do a good enough job to get the first downs and the yardage and the touchdowns that we needed to stay in this game. Just didn't happen tonight, obviously."
With the loss, the Hurricanes finished a year in which they were a preseason top-10 team with a 7-6 record. They've now posted a 1-8 record in their last nine bowl games and for the fifth time this season, the offense was held under 17 points.
"We weren't focused. We weren't locked in," said running back Travis Homer, who finished with just 16 yards after needing 31 yards to hit the 1,000-yard mark for the season. "We didn't want it bad enough."
The performance was so dismal and criticism of Richt so sharp it prompted Miami athletic director Blake James to take the unusual step of posting a statement on social media sharing his thoughts on the state of the Hurricanes football program.
"Our football team's performance tonight — and at other times this season — is simply unacceptable to all of us who love The U," James wrote on Twitter. "I am committed to getting UM football back to national prominence and that process is underway. We will compete for ACC and national championships and I know that Coach Richt is alongside me in that commitment to excellence."
For the Hurricanes, who started the season with hopes of defending their ACC Coastal Division championship but saw those hopes fade after a midseason four-game losing streak, the problems started early.
Wisconsin needed just six plays to march down the field and take a quick 7-0 lead after reserve Badgers quarterback Jack Coan connected with Kendric Pryor on a 35-yard touchdown pass.
On that drive, Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor — this season's Doak Walker Award winner as the nation's top running back — had five carries for 29 yards, helping set the tone for what would be another dominant performance.
Taylor, a sophomore, finished with 27 carries for 205 yards.
Miami, meanwhile, couldn't counter.
On the Hurricanes' ensuing possession — their first of the game — Rosier threw his first interception of the night on his first pass attempt. One play later, Taylor scored on a 7-yard run that staked Wisconsin to a 14-0 lead less than four minutes into the game.
From there, things only got worse.
Though Miami's defense then held the Badgers without another score until the 3:36 mark of the third quarter, the only scoring Miami got was a 33-yard field goal from Bubba Baxa with 1:15 left in the first quarter.
Rosier finished the day 5-of-12 passing for 46 yards and no Miami receiver caught a pass until Lawrence Cager's 22-yard grab in the opening minutes of the third quarter.
And when he tried to find a silver lining later, Richt struggled, settling only on the performance of his defense, which was, again, not helped by the offense.
"First couple drives, (the defense) really did a super job of slowing things down and getting some stops, forcing some field goals. After turnovers and things of that nature, just battled 'til the very end, to the last inch, at the very end of the game trying to keep them out of the end zone on that last touchdown."