Miami managed to score a touchdown one play after a 91 yard opening kickoff return was moved back to the Wisconsin 16 yard line due to a penalty, but Wisconsin would control the game for the next, oh, 57 minutes or so before a breakdown on defense allowed Miami to score a second TD. The 'Canes would recover an on-side kick and nearly give me a heart attack before reverting back to their form of the rest of the game and incompleting it all away.
The story tonight will be John Clay, who rushed for 121 yards and 2 TDs. While this is an outstanding performance by the Big 10's player of the year, I have a few other players that I would like to quickly recognize. I'll have a full write-up of this game tomorrow, but, for now, game balls go to...
Graham takes a look at the upcoming Fiesta Bowl between Iowa and Georgia Tech...
Tight ends - Lance Kendricks and Garrett Graham who combined for 205 of Wisconsin's 268 receiving yards on the night. Both seemingly were present on all of the Badgers third down conversions and other huge plays, and both managed to play a clean and largely error free game.
The Offensive Line - Okay so technically this is a cop-out since I'm awarding it to an entire unit and not a player, but I'd like to just note how much the OL stepped up tonight. The pre-game story was of Miami's speedy offense and pass-rush but they seemed to be cleanly handled by an offensive line that also managed to open up many holes for John Clay to burst through. One of the highlights of my night was watching the Miami pass rush bounce off the Wisconsin line like birds flying into a skyscraper window.
Defensive End - O'Brien Schofield for his consistent pressure which contributed to several incompletions and at least one sack of Jacory Harris.
Defensive End - J.J. Watt for his heads-up recovery of a 4th quarter fumble and sack of Jacory Harris that helped nip Miami's last drive before it even got started.
Honorable mentions go to the rest of the defensive line for both pressuring Harris and stuffing the Miami speed and run.
All in all, an excellent way for the Big 10 to open the 2009 bowl season. Check back tomorrow for my complete thoughts on the game, and until then...
On to celebrating, on to the off season, and ON WISCONSIN!!