Game Recap: Redemption against the U

Happy Holidays from Badger Nation's Drive Blog! If you thought Miami was going to run away with the Champs Sports Bowl, shame on you. John Clay, the Big Ten's offensive player of the year, scored a pair of three-yard touchdowns and the Badgers' defense shuts down the Canes, helping the Badgers to a 20-14 Champs Sports Bowl victory in Orlando.

ORLANDO, Fla. - Finally, Wisconsin can bury all the ghosts of the 2008 season.

Thanks to superb offensive performances by Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year John Clay and junior tight end Lance Kendricks and a dominant defensive performance, No.24 Wisconsin proved that ‘big and slow' is too much for the ‘U,' as the Badgers upend the No.14 Hurricanes to earn a 20-14 victory in the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl Tuesday night in front of a bowl-record 56,747 fans at the Citrus Bowl Stadium.

After Miami scored in the game's first 30 seconds, Wisconsin answered right back with the first of two Clay touchdowns and never looked back. Clay finished with 22 carries for 121 yards, his ninth 100-yard gain of the season and sixth straight, and those two scores. Junior quarterback Scott Tolzien finished the game 19-of-26 for 260 yards, helping UW's offense rack up 428 yards.

As good as the offense was, the defense was even better, limiting dangerous sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris to 190 yards passing and the Hurricanes offense to a pedestrian 249 total yards.

UW (10-3) controlled the entire game until the last two minutes when Miami (9-4) marched down the field for its first touchdown since the opening seconds and recovered the onside kick with just over a minute to go. After the wake-up call, UW's defense rose to the challenge, registered a tackle for loss and three straight incompletions to clinch the victory.

Post-game coverage from Badger Nation, the Internet's No.1 source for Wisconsin related coverage, on the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl Champions1

UW Rocks the Hurricanes for first bowl win since 2007

Notes: Clay, Tolzien make up for past shortcomings against ranked foes

Grading the 2009 Wisconsin Badgers

No.14 Miami (9-3) vs. No.24 Wisconsin (9-3)

First Half

First Quarter

7-0 Miami

1 play, 16 yards, :23 TOP 14:37 left

G. Cooper 16 yard run (M. Bosher kick)

Key Play: Hey Bielema, your special teams units aren't very good at all. If it wasn't for an unnecessary block in the back, Miami would have scored a touchdown on the opening kickoff. As it is, the U get a huge kick return to the UW 16, and end up scoring on the next play as Cooper bounced one around the left end.


3 plays, 41 yards, 1:13 TOP 7:12 left

John Clay 3 yard run (Phil Welch kick)

Key Play: With great field position at the U's 41, Tolzien and the Badgers went play action to get the U sleeping. The result was Lance Kendricks wide open in the flat for a 37-yard gain to the U 4.

Second Quarter

14-7 Wisconsin

5 plays, 64 yards, 2:08 TOP, 8:07 left

John Clay 3 yard run (Welch kick)

Key Play: Who says Big Ten players are slow? John Clay showed the U he is as fast as any southern athlete, rushing through the right side of the line for a 52-yard gain down to the U 12.

17-7 Wisconsin

11 plays, 62 yards, 4:35 TOP, :12 left

FG Welch 37

Key Play: UW was stuck deep into its own territory, but Tolzien hit big back-to-back passes to Kendricks for 18 yards and sophomore Nick Toon for 20 yards, getting UW to the U 35.

Second Half

Third Quarter

No scoring

Fourth Quarter

20-7 Wisconsin

6 plays, 23 yards, 3:48 TOP, 4:03 left

FG Welch 28

Key Play: They were the best tackle for loss tandem in the nation and they haven't slowed in the post season. Senior O'Brien Schofield sack and TFL on Jacory Harris forced a fumble that J.J. Watt fell on, giving UW prime field position at the U 34.

20-14 Wisconsin

10 plays, 79 yards, 2:39 TOP, 1:22 left

Thearon Collier 14-yard pass from Harris (Bosher kick)

Key Play: UW got little pressure on the quarterback and Harris was able to complete 9-of-10 passes on the drive and march the Hurricanes right down the field.

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