Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Wisconsin Badgers' performance in their 35-3 win over the Miami Hurricanes on Thursday in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York.
Jonathan Taylor and Taiwan Deal ran well early, then Miami started shooting gaps, resulting in too many negative-yardage runs. But Taylor and the line simply overpowered Miami in the second half. Jack Coan showed his inexperience, so much so that UW virtually abandoned the passing game. He made plays with his feet, though.
Eric Burrell's interception on Miami's first play handed UW a 14-0 lead. Andrew Van Ginkel's forced fumble and picks by Chris Orr, T.J. Edwards and Caesar Williams made it five takeaways for UW, the No. 1 factor in the win. Van Ginkel also had a sack. Orr showed he'll cushion the blow when Edwards and Ryan Connelly leave.
Special teams: C-minus
It was just one of those years for Rafael Gaglianone. Up and down all season, he missed badly on field goals of 39 and 41 yards. The Badgers were slow to the ball, so DeeJay Dallas took a punt on a bounce and returned it 35 yards. Jack Dunn had a difficult task fielding Jack Spicer's bouncing, rugby-style punts but he did so cleanly.
Paul Chryst's biggest problem was figuring out how to defeat Miami's run blitzes. He did it in the second half by shelving the passing game, playing the fullback and tight ends more and going with old-fashioned, straight ahead, power running. Several read-option runs by Coan and a tight end screen pass were bowl-game wrinkles.
It wasn't enough to erase the memory of a season that fell well short of expectations, but UW's dominating victory over Miami at least sent everyone home with a good taste in their mouths. The Badgers had chances to put away Miami in the first half but kept making mistakes. Fortunately, the defense played its best game of the season.