Expert Cappers Picks
College Football
Preview
Miami vs Wisconsin
When: 5:15 PM ET, Thursday, December 27, 2018
Where: Yankee Stadium, New York, New York



NEW ERA PINSTRIPE BOWL STORYLINES

1. The 2018 campaign did not go as anyone at Miami or Wisconsin expected as the schools came into this season with top 10 rankings and national title dreams after impressive campaigns a year ago that ended with a Badgers win over the Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl. But rather than competing for conference championships and spots in the College Football Playoff, the teams instead endured roller-coaster campaigns and finished with identical 7-5 records and a surprising bowl rematch, this time in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in New York's Yankee Stadium on Dec. 27. It's Wisconsin's 17th straight season ending with a bowl bid, the longest streak by a Big Ten school and the fourth longest in the country, while it's the sixth in a row for the Hurricanes, who are just 1-7 in their last eight bowl games and 1-1 under head coach Mark Richt, including a 34-24 loss to Wisconsin last year.

2. The Hurricanes will most certainly try to avenge that Orange Bowl loss, a game they once led 14-3 before the Badgers stormed back with 21 unanswered points, but the rematch hardly has nearly the same draw as that thriller in Miami. And while Badgers fans have shown their willingness to travel -- they negated some of Miami's expected homefield advantage at Hard Rock Stadium in the Orange Bowl -- and are certainly accustomed to the cold, there's some question about whether the Hurricanes faithful will make the trek to a cold-weather city, although it will give Miami's large alumni base from the Northeast a chance to see their team in person. "That northeast corridor, I think we'll have a lot of people that will be excited to have us up there and they'll come out," Hurricanes athletic director Blake James told the Sun Sentinel. "I think our alumni and fan base really will be excited to be there and what's not to be excited about? It'll be a great game against a great institution and football program and one hosted by a world-class organization."

3. Badgers quarterback Alex Hornibrook lit up a tough Hurricanes defense in last year's Orange Bowl, earning MVP honors with 258 yards passing and four touchdowns with no interceptions, but he has not had a season to remember and is coming off a dismal three-interception showing in the season-ending loss to Minnesota - Wisconsin's first loss to the Golden Gophers in 15 years. Miami, too, has had less-than-adequate production from the quarterback spot with redshirt freshman N'Kosi Perry (51.6 percent completion) and senior Malik Rosier (53.5) struggling to make good decisions and create plays for a sputtering Hurricanes offense. No surprise, then, that both schools will come in relying heavily on their running games, with Wisconsin proving especially dominant on the ground this season, leaping to seventh best in the nation (268.4 ypg) from 23rd (222.9) a year ago.

WISCONSIN (7-5, 5-4 Big Ten): On the heels of a huge freshman campaign, running back Jonathan Taylor upped his game even further and became the fourth Badger to win the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's top running back, joining Ron Dayne (1999), Montee Ball (2012) and Melvin Gordon (2014). He is almost certain to get the 11 rushing yards needed to hit the 2,000-yard barrier for the season as he is averaging a nation-best 165.8 yards rushing per game, but the yardage doesn't figure to come easy against a Miami defense that boasts one of the top defensive lines and will be primed to stop him, especially if an inconsistent Hornibrook (13 TDs, 11 INTs) can't get the job done through the air. The Badgers defense had its moments but was far from the same dominant unit of a year ago, surrendering 81 points total in the last two games while allowing Minnesota to rush for 201 yards in the season finale, a weakness the Hurricanes will try to exploit.

MIAMI (7-5, 4-4 ACC): Led by All-America defensive lineman Gerald Willis, the backbone of the Hurricanes is a defense that was fast, hungry and opportunistic under coordinator Manny Diaz, who is leaving after the season to take over as Temple's head coach, ranking No. 1 in the nation in a number of categories, including passing yards allowed per game (140.8), third-down conversion percentage (23.7) and tackles for loss (10.5 per game). The Hurricanes had some ugly outings offensively, at one point scoring a total of 60 points during an 0-4 skid as they couldn't find an answer at quarterback, shuffling back and forth between Rosier and Perry. While Perry eventually gained the trust of his coaches and led the Hurricanes to two victories to close the regular season, Miami remains far more of a running team with Travis Homer (969 yards) and Deejay Dallas (609) providing a strong one-two punch and they expect to have their chances against a Badgers defense that isn't as physical up front as it was a year ago.



PREDICTION: Wisconsin 24, Miami 20
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Miami 7-5 W2 30.9 18.2 5-1 2-4 6-3 0-0 4-4
Wisconsin 7-5 L1 29.2 24.2 5-2 2-3 1-2 0-0 5-4
Last Meeting
Miami Wisconsin
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
12/30/17 WIS 34 MIA 24 377 174 203 400 142 258
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Miami M. Rosier 42.3 203 1 3
Wisconsin A. Hornibrook 67.6 258 4 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Miami D. Dallas 8 69 8.6 1
Wisconsin J. Taylor 26 130 5.0 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Miami L. Cager 4 76 19.0 1
Wisconsin A. Taylor 8 105 13.1 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Miami L. Cager 1
Wisconsin D. Davis III 3
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Miami N. Perry 51.6 1089 13 5
Wisconsin A. Hornibrook 59.5 1532 13 11
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Miami T. Homer 154 969 6.3 4
Wisconsin J. Taylor 280 1989 7.1 15
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Miami J. Thomas 35 563 16.1 3
Wisconsin A. Taylor 30 508 16.9 3
Touchdowns Player TD
Miami D. Dallas 7
Wisconsin J. Taylor 15
Quickchart Matchup
Miami Miami Off vs  Wisconsin Wisconsin Def
Miami 374.6 yards
Wisconsin 358.8 yards
Miami 5.2 yards/rush
Wisconsin 4.4 yards/rush
Miami 6.3 yards/attempt
Wisconsin 7 yards/attempt
Wisconsin Wisconsin Off vs  Miami Miami Def
Wisconsin 437 yards
Miami 268.1 yards
Wisconsin 6.3 yards/rush
Miami 3.3 yards/rush
Wisconsin 6.9 yards/attempt
Miami 5.5 yards/attempt