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14  Wisconsin0143724
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34

(19) Wisconsin (9-3) vs. (8) South Carolina (10-2)



Wednesday, January 1, 1 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: A New Year's Day tradition continues on Wednesday afternoon, as the 19th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers and the eighth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks square off in the 68th annual Capital One Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium.

Wisconsin has established itself as one of the nation's most consistent teams of the 21st century with 12 consecutive bowl appearances, including three straight Rose Bowl bids from 2010-12. In Gary Anderson's first season as head coach, the Badgers actually improved upon 2012's ledger (8-6) by going 9-3 (6-2 in the Big Ten), although they closed out the regular season on a down note with a 31-24 home loss to Penn State.

"I think we all strive at the beginning of the year and fight through the year to get a BCS game, (but) that's a very difficult to do," Anderson said. "We won a bunch of football games. We've got nine wins and now we're going to go play a team with 10 wins. It's a tremendous matchup...We're just honored to be part of it and we're excited we could get this team to this point."

Once a favorite to win the SEC Eastern Division, South Carolina stumbled early with a Sept. 7 loss at Georgia (41-30) to fall out of the national spotlight. From there however, the Gamecocks were nothing short of outstanding, winning nine of 10 to close out the campaign, including five in a row at the end. They have now won double-digit games in three straight seasons and have earned a bowl bid in eight of Steve Spurrier's nine campaigns as head coach.

"We've got to play well if we expect to beat Wisconsin," Spurrier said. "They are a very good team. I think they're favored over us, so I guess if we beat them, it will be an upset. Our guys practiced pretty well back in Columbia and we hope to have some good practices here (in Orlando).

This marks the first-ever meeting between the Badgers and the Gamecocks on the football field.

Wisconsin's offense this season has been a potent one, boasting 35.8 points per game thanks largely to the nation's eighth-ranked rushing attack (283.0 ypg).

The two-headed monster in the backfield consists of Melvin Gordon (1,466 yards, 12 TDs) and James White (1,337 yards, 13 TDs), and the Badgers are the only team in FBS to have a pair of running backs averaging at least 100 rushing yards per game. This will mark White's final game of his senior season, but Gordon, who averaged an incredible 8.1 yards per carry, announced that he will be returning in 2014.

"With this decision out of the way I can now focus on helping my team prepare for the Capital One Bowl and a great opponent in South Carolina," Gordon said after he announced he would not enter May's NFL Draft.

With such a reliable running game, quarterback Joel Stave isn't asked to do much, although he's been mostly productive by completing 61.6 percent of his passes for 2,414 yards and 20 touchdowns. On the other hand, his 12 interceptions are tied for second-most in the Big Ten.

Stave has been locked in on Jared Abbrederis all season long. The receiver was a First Team All-Big Ten selection after tallying 73 receptions, 1,051 yards and seven touchdowns, giving the team a 1,000-yard receiver and two 1,000-yard rushers for the first time in school history. White is the team's next-leading receiver (37 receptions, 292 yards, two TDs).

While the offense has shined on the campaign, the Badgers have risen to great heights thanks mostly to their outstanding defense, which ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense (14.8 ppg) and sixth in total defense (294.0 ypg).

Leading the unit is First Team All-American linebacker Chris Borland, who has racked up 102 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 4.0 sacks and two fumble recoveries. Sojour Shelton paces the secondary with four interceptions and 11 passes defended, while Michael Caputo (62 tackles) and Brendan Kelly (7.0 TFL, 4.5 sacks, three FF) are also defensive standouts.

Although the Gamecocks were rarely flashy on offense, they displayed consistent production all season long, racking up 34.1 points and 453.5 yards per game.

Leading the attack is Connor Shaw, who is one of the nation's most efficient quarterbacks. Despite fighting through several nagging injuries, the senior did not miss a game and completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,135 yards with 21 touchdowns paired with just a single interception. He's also a big factor with his legs, picking up an additional 511 rushing yards and five scores.

Joining Shaw in the backfield is Mike Davis, who is a true workhorse with 194 carries for 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Bruce Ellington is the top target out wide with 43 receptions, 635 yards and six touchdowns, and he might see additional targets in this one with Damiere Byrd (33 receptions, 575 yards, four TDs) sidelined with a knee injury.

"We've got everybody healthy except Damiere Byrd," Spurrier said. "We'll miss Damiere. He's our deep-threat, long-ball guy. Hopefully one of our other players will step forward and maybe catch a long one before the day is over."

While South Carolina's defense may not be as stout as Wisconsin's, it has nonetheless played very well, allowing only 20.0 points and 345.0 yards per game, while generating 26 takeaways.

Jadeveon Clowney came into the season with sky-high expectations but fell short of immeasurable hype with a disappointing season (3.0 sacks). Kelcy Quarles was able to take advantage of the extra attention teams paid to Clowney by racking up 13.5 TFL and 9.5 sacks. Jimmy Legree, Victor Hampton and T.J. Holloman have picked off three passes apiece, while Skai Moore has a team-best 51 tackles.

Facing a number of SEC teams with high-powered rushing attacks, South Carolina allowed only 142.2 yards per game on the ground and clearly has the capacity to bottle up Gordon and White, which will give it a strong chance at the victory. However, Wisconsin's defense will be the difference-maker in this one against a Gamecocks' offense that lacks explosion.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wisconsin 24, South Carolina 23

12/29 14:35:35 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
CHA 97
POR 105
Final
NCSU 84
RICH 72
Final
FLA 1
CAR 0
 
Final
PHI 91
BRK 99
Final
ORL 96
GSW 111
Final
CHA 97
POR 105
Final
CLE 113
WAS 87
Final
DET 98
LAC 104
Final
DAL 109
NYK 102
 
Final
ATL 115
TOR 126
 
Final
MIN 86
MIL 103
 
Final
HOU 102
SAC 89
 
Final
OKC 97
UTA 82
 
Final
SAN 106
IND 100
 
Final
PHO 120
DEN 112
 
Half
LAL 51
MEM 46
 
Final
UNC 66
BUT 74
Final
FRES 64
MAR 68
Final
CHAT 61
RMU 46
Final
EMICH 68
ROCH 35
 
Final
MRGST 51
LIB 50
 
Final
HAMP 60
AMER 64
 
Final
BEL 78
DEN 57
Final
UMASS 79
NE 54
Final
JMU 79
SHU 72
 
Final
KNST 84
SAMF 71
 
Final
ECU 73
HAW 75
Final
CHAM 60
MIZZ 74
Final
CCAR 61
LAMON 48
Final
OKLA 75
UCLA 65
Final
ELON 65
UNF 72
 
Final
UWMIL 66
ORU 69
Final
WCU 66
CHIST 61
Final
DUKE 93
FUR 54
Final
BYU 85
PURD 87
Final
EVAN 79
USF 72
Final
COL 71
GTDNS 75
 
Final
VERM 73
BRY 47
 
Final
OSU 91
CAMP 64
Final
LOU 45
CLST 33
Final
UCF 69
DAVID 95
Final
IONA 126
DELST 76
 
Final
OU 78
UGST 83
Final
TOWS 97
GOUCHER 43
 
Final
ND 81
GRAM 54
 
Final
YALE 82
LAF 60
 
Final
GWU 91
LONG 66
 
Final
VT 78
UMO 63
 
Final
WAKE 83
MNTER 49
 
Final
NAVY 67
PSUHARRIS 42
 
Final
NCSU 84
RICH 72
Final
MINN 61
STJ 70
Final
JVU 69
TRINBAPT 57
 
Final
YOUNG 66
UMKC 63
 
Final
UAB 43
WISC 72
Final
CORN 67
CAN 60
 
Final
WVU 103
VMI 72
Final
DEP 74
LEH 86
 
Final
UNT 67
MVSU 52
 
Final
MARS 68
MORE 77
 
Final
TCU 74
RAD 50
 
Final
SELA 86
TENT 65
 
Final
SMU 72
TXSOU 59
 
Final
UTAH 85
TXPA 48
 
Final
LMU 66
UCR 62
 
Final
SCAR 89
UNCA 75
 
Final
SD 86
WAYNEST 69
 
Final
PITT 70
KYST 47
Final
UWGB 59
FLGC 45
 
Final
IOWA 70
NILL 49
 
Final
ORST 69
AUB 71
 
Final
MONT 75
CARROLLMT 52
 
Final
SUTAH 64
EKENT 73
 
Final
NMST 78
FAM 33
 
Final
WYO 65
STET 41
 
Final
EWASH 81
NKENTUCKY 60
 
Final
IDST 57
WLVRN 60
 
3rd
GEOR 53
UF 53
 
2nd
GONZ 77
UGA 66
 
Final
NIOWA 61
NW 42
 
2nd
CAL 52
CPSL 42
 
2nd
UCD 61
UTST 62
 
Half
SDST 31
ARZ 32
 
Half
NDAK 42
ALAST 21
 
1st
CSNO 22
PORST 31
 
11:30pm Tonight
AKAN
PAC
11:30pm Tonight
OKST
TULSA
Final
NYI 3
WAS 2
Final
BUF 1
WIN 2
Final
FLA 1
CAR 0
 
Final
TAM 4
NYR 3
 
Final
DET 5
PHI 2
 
Final
PIT 4
TOR 3
 
Final
MIN 0
LOS 4
 
Final
COL 2
CHI 3
 
2nd
SJS 0
CAL 0