Thursday, December 27, 2018

Pinstripe Bowl: Taylor, Wisconsin Run By Miami

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor finding an opening. @BadgerFootball.

In the Pinstripe Bowl on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, Wisconsin rolled to a 35-3 win over Miami.

Wisconsin was led by their star running back Jonathan Taylor, who ran for 215 yards on 27 carries, an average of 7.6 yards per run, with a touchdown to take home Most Valuable Player honors.

"What J.T. has done, it's as good as there is, right?" said Wisconsin Head Coach Paul Chryst. "Statistically... The thing I've appreciated as much as anything is how he's done it, the way that he works, the teammate that he is. Statistically, I remember coming into this season and talking in Chicago, J.T. could have a heck of a season. The numbers may be very different."

Taylor wasted no time making an impact, as he opened the game with three runs for 11, 8, and 10 yards. That led to Wisconsin scoring on their opening drive, as Jack Coan found Kendrik Pryor from 35 yards out to make it 7-0 three minutes in.

On Miami's first play, their quarterback, Malik Rosier, was picked off by Eric Burrell, at the Miami 37-yard line, and he almost ran it all the way in, but was knocked out of bounds at the 7. Taylor ran it in from there to make it 14-0 Wisconsin.

Miami then had a short drive, and it looked like Wisconsin was bound to get another touchdown, but Miami defensive back Jaquan Johnson picked off Coan at the Miami 8-yard line by the sidelines.

On the Hurricanes' first play of the ensuing drive, Rosier ran it 62 yards to the Wisconsin 30. The drive stalled soon after, and they had to settle for a field goal from Bubba Baxa to make it 14-3.

Wisconsin tried to add to their lead in the second quarter, but Rafael Gaglianone missed a pair of field goals, from 41 and 39 yards out, so they took a 14-3 lead into halftime.

In the third, Miami was threatening, but Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Edwards picked off Rosier at the Wisconsin 38 at the 5:18 mark.

Taylor took over on Wisconsin's ensuing drive, notching runs of 13 yards to get them to the Miami 46, and then a 41-yard run, followed by a 3-yard run that got the Badgers to the 2-yard line. Alec Ingold ran it in from there to make it 21-3.

With N'Kosi Perry in at quarterback for Miami in the fourth, Wisconsin's defense notched another interception, as Caesar Williams picked him off at the Miami 36 with 12:27 left.

Wisconsin took just five plays, capped by a Coan 7-yard touchdown run, to make it 28-3.

They closed the game on a seven-minute, 20-second drive with Taiwan Deal getting a 1-yard touchdown with eight seconds left to make it 35-3.

Wisconsin dominated in every category: as they had 40:12 possession time to 19:48 for Miami, 406 yards to 169 for Miami, and 4 interceptions to 1.

Chryst said of the Wisconsin defense, "They played unbelievably well. Thought we had a good plan, players understood it, did a nice job of getting some in the run, and we were opportunistic. Obviously you get that number of takeaways, I know we gave up a couple big plays, but we came back. I thought they were really good. You're right, that's kind of been the story all year. Guys stepped in, stepped up. It was good."

Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan threw for 73 yards, with that early touchdown throw, and Chryst said of how that helped settle him down and develop a rhythm, "It's always big. You hate sometimes when your first throw is a third-and-long. He had been good on that play really kind of throughout bowl prep. KP ran a good route on it. It was good. We had time. Certainly there were times in the game where we struggled a little bit throwing it, but that was a heck of a start."

This was the ninth edition of the Pinstripe Bowl, and Yankees President Randy Levine made it clear who inspired them to create this game, The Boss, George M. Steinbrenner III.

"We're here, playing this game, having this bowl because of him," said Levine on Thursday afternoon. "George, give him some sodium pentothal, after the Yankees, he loved college football, that's what he was about. I mean, he really, really loved it and he lived it. When we decided to build this new stadium, he said, 'do it, make it classic, iconic Yankee Stadium like it looked in 1923, but make sure you can fit in college football, we want college football, and we want a bowl game in here. So, you know, George, we can go on and speak for hours and hours, but he never stopped being a football coach, you know, never did. He was driven like a football coach is driven. Perfection is what he sought for himself and for everybody, and that's why he did the amazing things that, in my opinion, made him the greatest sports owner of all time, but it all came down to being a football coach, assistant at Purdue and Northwestern, and, who knows, if his dad didn't call him back to run the shipping business, he might have never bought the Yankees because I think he was having a really good time doing that. This whole game is a tribute to him."

On whether the Yankees will attempt to have the Pinstripe Bowl as part of the rotation of bowl games in the College Football Playoff system, Levine said, "I think it would be great, but I think we have a little more work to do before we're ready to do that, and Yankee Stadium's size, you know, for baseball, we're at about 48,000, and for football, we can expand, you know, get it over around 50 with bleachers and stuff...For a Playoff, this Stadium might be a little too small."

Battle of the Bands:

Miami's band forming their "U" logo before the game. Photo by Jason Schott.

Wisconsin performed at halftime. Photo by Jason Schott.

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