MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – The Wisconsin Badgers withstood a second-half rally by the Miami Hurricanes to win 34-24 at the Capital One Orange Bowl.READ MORE: COVID In Florida: Cases, Positivity Rates, Deaths Rise Amid Coronavirus Surge
The majority of the 65,032 fans at Hard Rock Stadium were cheering on the hometown Hurricanes, but only the travelers from Wisconsin remained after the final whistle.
Sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw four touchdown passes and freshman running back Jonathan Taylor gashed Miami’s defense for 130 rushing yards. Taylor, who finishes 2017 with 1,977 yards, passed Adrian Peterson and Ron Dayne to set a new NCAA freshman rushing record.
Taylor lost a first quarter fumble, his fifth turnover of the season, but Miami could not turn the takeaway into points.
The Jonathan Taylor fumble – forced by safety Jaquan Johnson and recovered by cornerback Dee Delaney – was Miami’s only takeaway of the game. Delanay put on the famed turnover chain for the second time this season.
Meanwhile, Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier threw three interceptions, including a late fourth quarter pick that bounced off the hands of Travis Homer before falling securely in the arms of Wisconsin’s Ryan Connelly. The Badgers then ran out the final 1:13 in the victory formation.
Rosier’s first interception came on the first play of the second quarter, setting the table for Wisconsin to change the course of the football game.
After helping his team close out the first quarter with 14 un-answered points, Rosier was picked off by Andrew Van Ginkel on the first play of the second quarter at Miami’s 23 yard line.
The Badgers scored their first touchdown 3 plays later when receiver Danny Davis extended the football over the pylon to cut Miami’s lead to 14-10. It appeared on replay that the football didn’t break the pylon, yet the call on the field of a touchdown was confirmed.
Miami went three and out on their final two drives of the first half, while Wisconsin found the end zone twice more. Hornibrook found AJ Taylor for a 16 yard TD after a masterful 12 play – 71 yard drive to make it 17-14. Later, Hornibrook threw a 5-yard strike to Danny Davis to make it 24-14 right before the intermission.
The Hurricanes came out sharp in the second half. Rosier scrambled and found sophomore receiver Lawrence Cager wide open downfield for a 38 yard touchdown. The ball was thrown perfectly, and Miami pulled within 3 (24-21).READ MORE: 'Biggest Tragedy Is Preventable Loss Of Life': Memorial Healthcare System Chief Urges Public To Get COVID Vaccine
However, two second half interceptions and a missed 24-yard chip shot from kicker Michael Badgley would end any prayer of a Miami comeback.
Danny Davis’ third touchdown catch of the night put Wisconsin ahead by 10 (34-24) in the late stages.
First quarter magic
During the opening quarter, it looked like Miami was ready to feed off the South Florida crowd and smother the opposition like they did in November masterpieces against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.
A 5 yard touchdown run by Travis Homer made it 7-3 Miami, capping off a potent 7 play – 75 yard drive. Miami ran the football on 6 of those 7 plays, which included true freshman DeeJay Dallas picking up big gains from the ‘Wildcat’ formation.
From that Wildcat, Dallas broke free for a 39 yard touchdown run on Miami’s next drive, putting his team in front 14-3.
Dallas finished the game with 8 carries for 69 yards. Homer rushed for 64 yards on 12 attempts.
Through the air, Rosier went 11 for 26 for 203 yards with one touchdown and 3 interceptions.
Third down blues and other tough stats.
Miami converted just 2 of their 10 attempts on third down. Wisconsin was much better in that category, going 7 for 15.
Wisconsin was penalized 3 times for 35 yards, while Miami was flagged 4 times for 20. One of those 4 Canes penalties was called on head coach Mark Richt for unsportsmanlike conduct. Richt gave the officials an earful for missing a handful of holding calls on the Badgers, even grabbing one of the referees by the arm.
Wisconsin out-gained Miami 400 total yards to 377. The Badgers won the time of possession battle a whopping 39:52 to 20:08.
The Hurricanes finish the season 10-3. They’ve won double digit games for the first time since an 11-2 finish in 2003.MORE NEWS: Florida Becoming Epicenter Of Coronavirus Outbreak
Wisconsin has reached 13 victories for the first time in program history, as they capped off a 13-1 campaign.