The No. 10 University of Miami Hurricanes will face No. 6 Wisconsin Saturday in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Kickoff: 8 p.m.
Weather Forecast: 66 degrees; Cloudy (Chance of rain: 0 percent)
All-time Series: Tied 2-2 (Last won: Wisconsin 20-14 in 2009)
Head Coach: Mark Richt (2nd season)
Record: 10-2 (7-1 ACC)
Ranked: No. 10 (CFB Playoff Rankings); No. 11 (AP Poll)
Top Players: RB Mark Walton; WR Ahmmon Richards; LB Shaquille Quarterman; LB Zach McCloud; LB Michael Pinckney; TE Christopher Herndon IV; DT Kendrick Norton; DT RJ McIntosh; DE Chad Thomas; DE Joe Jackson; DB Jaquan Johnson; QB Malik Rosier; OL Navaughn Donaldson; WR Braxton Berrios; WR Darrell Langham.
Head Coach: Paul Chryst (3rd season)
Record: 12-1 (9-0 Big 10)
Ranked: No. 6 (CFB Playoff Rankings); No. 6 (AP Poll)
Top Players: RB Jonathan Taylor; RB Bradrick Shaw; QB Alex Hornibrook; TE Troy Fumagalli; WR Quintez Cephus; WR A.J. Taylor; WR Danny Davis; LB Ryan Connelly; LB T.J. Edwards; LB Leon Jacobs; DB D’Cota Dixon; DB Joe Ferguson; LB Garret Dooley; LB Andrew Van Ginkel; DE Alec James; OL Michael Deiter; Jon Dietzen
After a much-needed layoff, the No. 10 ranked Miami Hurricanes return to the football field for the final time in 2017 – taking on Big 10 representative No. 6 Wisconsin in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl, just the fifth-ever meeting between the programs.
The Hurricanes have the added benefit of playing in their bowl game on their own turf – Hard Rock Stadium – where Miami has won its last nine games, not losing since Oct. 15, 2016.
UM earned its spot in the Orange Bowl after it faltered in the final two weeks of the season – losing its regular season finale to unranked Pittsburgh followed by a 38-3 loss to defending national and ACC champion Clemson in the ACC Championship game.
The attrition that comes along with playing 11 consecutive games seemed to have worn down Miami. Injuries mounted – including losing No. 1 tight end Christopher Herndon and sophomore receiver Ahmmon Richards prior to the ACC title game – and the team didn’t have the same vigor it showed during while jumping out to a 10-0 start.
Standing in the way of Miami head coach Mark Richt leading the Hurricanes to its second straight bowl win during his tenure is Big 10 conference runner-up Wisconsin.
The Badgers – like the Hurricanes – had College Football Playoff aspirations going into the final weeks of the season. But Wisconsin fell to rival Ohio State in the conference championship game and found itself sitting outside of the top four and bound for the Orange Bowl.
Wisconsin won 12 straight games prior to its slip against the Buckeyes thanks to the breakout performance by freshman Jonathan Taylor. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound New Jersey native rushed for just over 1,800 yards this season and appears to be the next in line to carry on the lineage of great Badger ball carriers.
Sans their performance against Ohio State, the Badgers defense has been stout against the run this season. Wisconsin held eight opponents under 100 rushing yards this year while allowing just 13 points per game.
Two things appear to be working in Miami’s favor for this game.
Similarly to Notre Dame, Wisconsin comes into their matchup with the Hurricanes as a big, powerful team that banks on winning the line of scrimmage and running the ball to control the game.
Miami’s defense had one of its best performances against the Fighting Irish, using their decisive advantage of overall speed and athleticism to overwhelm Notre Dame.
And, because of that spirited performance by UM’s defense, Miami’s home crowd literally had the stadium rocking – giving the Canes extra juice.
+ RB Mark Walton (ankle) is OUT for the season
+ TE Christopher Herndon (knee) is OUT for the season
+ WR Ahmmon Richards (knee) is OUT for the season
+ LB Jamie Gordinier (knee) is OUT for the season
+ WR Evidence Njoku (knee) is OUT for the season
+ LB Charles Perry (lower extremity) is OUT for the season
+ DE Demetrius Jackson (knee) is OUT for the season
+ RB Bradrick Shaw (leg) is OUT FOR THE SEASON
+ LB Noah Burks (leg) is QUESTIONABLE
+ LB Zack Baun (foot) is OUT FOR THE SEASON
+ WR Quintez Cephus (leg) is OUT FOR THE SEASON
+ LB Jack Cichy (knee) is OUT FOR THE SEASON
+ TE Luke Benzschawel (leg) is QUESTIONABLE
+ RB Sam Brodner (knee) is OUT FOR THE SEASON
+ TE Zander Neuville (leg) is OUT FOR THE SEASON
+ RB Taiwan Deal (leg) is OUT FOR THE SEASON
+ LB Mason Stokke (leg) is OUT FOR THE SEASON
Miami’s Keys To Victory
+ Yards After Catch – Room for running the ball will likely be hard to come by for the Canes. If that ends up being the case, Miami will have to use its short passing game as a de facto running game. With that, it will be imperative that Hurricanes receivers are able quickly get upfield so that they can gain yards after the short catch and keep UM’s offense in rhythm.
+ Swarm The Ball – Given that Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has had essentially three weeks to prepare for the Badgers, the Canes defense should be able to play fast and make life uncomfortable for a Wisconsin offense that hasn’t seen team speed like Miami’s all season. Look for Diaz to dial up many exotic blitzes to create tackles for loss and potentially leads to turnovers.
+ Feed Off The Crowd – The Hurricanes gave their fans plenty to be excited about this season. For that, the team needs the fans to show up and show out in force for the final game of the year. Like Miami fans did for the Virginia Tech and Notre Dame games, they need to make sure the Canes really feel the home field advantage that comes along with playing in Hard Rock Stadium.
They Said It
Miami sophomore linebacker Shaquille Quarterman talking about the future of Miami’s program…
“The future is looking very bright, especially with a win in this game…and it’s going to get even brighter. We had the No. 1 recruiting class, great class, got to meet a lot of the guys. We’ve got a lot of guys coming back. We’ve got coaches coming back. Everything is lined up for us to be amazing, especially with the experience we have coming back with the regimen if you want to say of the team, I think it’s going to be awesome.”
Wisconsin’s South Florida Connections
Faion Hicks (20) – freshman cornerback went to Pembroke Pines Flanagan and was a part of the Falcons’ 2015 Class 8A state championship team.
Derrick Tindal (25) – senior cornerback went to Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson.
Dontye Carriere-Williams (29) – redshirt freshman cornerback went to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. Carriere-Williams won two state championship during his high school career – one with the Aquinas Raiders and one with Miami Booker T. Washington.
Paul Jackson (41) – junior receiver is a Miami native, who played two seasons of high school basketball in South Florida before finishing his preps career at Ohio Ursuline.
George Rushing (17) – senior receiver went to Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons. However, Rushing left the program in November for personal reasons.
Wisconsin (-4.5) over Miami
J.T. Wilcox = Miami 27, Wisconsin 25