Wisconsin Football: 4 Lessons from Orange Bowl

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 30: Andrew Van Ginkel
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 30: Andrew Van Ginkel /

Wisconsin football beats Miami to claim the Orange Bowl crown away from the host Miami Hurricanes.  So what did we learn?

Wisconsin football beat the home side Miami Hurricanes 34-24 to win the 2017 Orange Bowl.  The win set a program record of 13 wins as the Badgers finish the year 13-1.

The Orange Bowl triumph is also Wisconsin football’s fourth straight bowl win.  Thus, it seems fitting to offer a quartet of lessons from the victory.

1. Officiating will always be a nightmare apparently but just keep playing

The official record book will say the Miami Hurricanes lost 34-24.  But the officials clearly took the loudest L of the night.

They inexplicably reviewed and then reversed an early first down run by Jonathan Taylor into a fumble.  He was clearly down and Wisconsin was well into field goal range.  Then they missed a Miami offsides which led to a Wisconsin hold. That nullified a big Badger gain.

Later on, they missed a clear hold (or two) on Wisconsin RT Dave Edwards on another Wisconsin completion.  That led to Mark Richt losing his mind.   And then Derrick Tindal held the Miami WR before intercepting a Hurricane pass in the end zone.

Just a dreadful officiating performance all around.

2. Andrew Van Ginkel is a big time playmaker

Van Ginkel had the big game changing Pick6 in the Big Ten title game.  And he turned this result around with a fantastic grab.

Miami had the ball up 14-3 and Wisconsin quickly cashed in the turnover to trim the deficit to 14-10. I think momentum is more theoretical than anything.  But after that Van Ginkel play Miami ran six total offensive plays for -3 yards on its next two possessions.

Wisconsin found its groove offensively and went into the break up 24-14 scoring touchdowns on three straight possessions.

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3. There is not going to be a QB competition in Madison

Jack Coan is a promising recruit.  But this is Alex Hornibrook’s team for now and you just have to deal with the good and the bad.  He was a deserved Orange Bowl MVP on Saturday night.

Hornibrook went 23/34 for 258 yards and four touchdowns.  Most impressively he didn’t turn it over.  And he showed good movement in the pocket an area he has typically struggled with.  Even when moved off his spot his eyes were downfield and he stuck with strong mechanics for a sharp delivery.  This is his job and will be barring injury.

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4. This Wisconsin offense could be pretty special in 2018

The Badgers could potentially return 10 of its 11 starters on offense next season.  They only guy they will for sure lose is TE Troy Fumagalli.  They will get back redshirt sophomore Quintez Cephus the team’s leading receiver when he got injured.

Next: Wisconsin Football Claims 4th Straight Bowl Win

Elsewhere, they could continue to go two-deep at every position along the offensive line.  A couple guys up front could leave (Michael Deiter and Beau Benzschawel).  Yet even if one or both does, Wisconsin is still well stocked up front.