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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
NCSU 79
JVU 43
 
Final
ECU 92
VULYNCH 51
 
Final
DUKE 20
UNC 45
Final
LOS 3
CAR 2
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
ORL
 
9:30pm Tonight
DUKE
TEMPL
 
Final
MIA 93
LAC 110
Final
SAC 103
CHI 88
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
ORL
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
PHO
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
DET
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
MIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
BOS
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
BRK
 
8:00pm Tonight
WAS
CLE
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
SAN
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
LAL
 
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
NOP
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
CHI
 
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
UTA
 
Final
WVU 20
KST 26
Final
DUKE 20
UNC 45
Final
TXST 45
ARKST 27
1:00pm Today
BUF 0
KSU 0
8:00pm Tonight
RICE
UTEP
9:30pm Tonight
SDST
AFA
9:30pm Tonight
UTST
SJST
Final
AKR 66
USC 46
Final
UCONN 65
COC 57
Final
MIAMI 66
DREX 46
Final
BC 69
NMU 65
Final
CHAR 106
PSU 97
Final
MICH 71
DET 62
Final
WMARY 100
BFLD 57
 
Final
USCU 107
BOBJONES 41
 
Final
UCF 76
ECKERD 59
 
Final
PURD 82
GRAM 30
 
Final
NCSU 79
JVU 43
 
Final
RFLSH 102
KEYSTONE 69
 
Final
VCU 106
MDES 66
Final
PROV 88
NAVY 51
 
Final
BRY 72
UNH 63
 
Final
PETE 59
NIAG 61
Final
STET 96
PBAT 85
 
Final
WAGN 83
SUNYWEST 49
 
Final
IOWA 57
TEX 71
Final
TENN 70
TXSOU 58
 
Final
SHU 54
MLOWELL 57
 
Final
ECU 92
VULYNCH 51
 
Final
TENNM 115
CBC 29
 
Final
MD 66
FORD 50
Final
WVU 91
GMAS 65
Final
RAD 61
HOW 52
 
Final
MURST 89
BRESCIA 56
 
Final
VILL 72
BUCK 65
Final
TENST 75
FISK 60
 
Final
HARV 71
FATL 49
Final
MINN 109
FRANKPRCE 57
 
Final
TULA 100
MVSU 61
 
Final
TCU 86
NO 71
 
Final
NW 69
UNF 67
 
Final
LSUALEX 79
NWST 89
 
Final
IND 74
SMU 68
Final
UAB 71
SFLA 73
Final
EILL 61
UCD 63
Final
SAV 59
WINT 58
 
Final
NIOWA 73
MRGST 53
 
Final
MISS 69
SOUTH 38
 
Final
SCAR 69
CORN 45
Final
VANDY 72
LIP 62
 
Final
ARST 68
LMU 44
Final
ALA 81
SMISS 67
Final
GRCN 64
TXARL 66
 
Final
NILL 78
IDAHO 67
Final
CAL 73
SYR 59
Final
GAELS 78
DEN 62
Final
NARZ 73
FRES 52
Final
PAC 81
PACU 56
 
Final
SDST 51
CALST 27
Final
UCLA 107
NICST 74
 
12:00pm Today
COC
TEXAM
 
12:00pm Today
DREX
USC
 
1:30pm Today
GWEBB
CLEM
 
2:30pm Today
MIAMI
AKR
 
2:30pm Today
UCONN
DAY
 
4:00pm Today
NEV
SHU
 
4:30pm Today
VALPO
ARKPB
 
4:30pm Today
LONG
UNCG
 
5:00pm Tonight
WVU
BC
 
5:00pm Tonight
TOWS
CCST
 
5:00pm Tonight
YALE
ILLCH
 
5:00pm Tonight
SYR
IOWA
 
5:30pm Tonight
HAMP
ALCOR
 
6:30pm Tonight
ODU
LSU
 
7:00pm Tonight
KENT
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
SCAR
CHAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
UVA
GWU
 
7:00pm Tonight
WCU
HIWASSEE
 
7:00pm Tonight
GT
MAST
 
7:00pm Tonight
RIDE
LEH
 
7:00pm Tonight
MSU
LOYC
 
7:00pm Tonight
CMICH
MAINE
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
MNTST
 
7:00pm Tonight
GMAS
NMU
 
7:00pm Tonight
BAY
PVU
 
7:00pm Tonight
HOF
USB
 
7:00pm Tonight
OREG
TOL
 
7:00pm Tonight
UGA
TROY
 
7:00pm Tonight
STAN
UNLV
 
7:00pm Tonight
FAIR
WOFF
 
7:00pm Tonight
EMICH
YOUNG
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
COOK
 
7:30pm Tonight
FIU
FLMEM
 
7:30pm Tonight
KSU
SILL
 
7:30pm Tonight
CAL
TEX
 
8:00pm Tonight
ILL
PEAY
 
8:00pm Tonight
ARK
DELST
 
8:00pm Tonight
MCNST
JCHR
 
8:00pm Tonight
NDST
KNST
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKST
UWMIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
MORE
 
8:00pm Tonight
SDKST
NDAK
 
8:00pm Tonight
XAV
STEPH
 
8:00pm Tonight
UF
LAMON
 
8:30pm Tonight
WAKE
IONA
 
9:00pm Tonight
GRCN
FAM
 
9:00pm Tonight
COLST
UGST
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASU
IDST
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
ILLST
 
9:00pm Tonight
AUB
LALAF
 
9:00pm Tonight
LOU
MARS
 
9:00pm Tonight
ORST
ORU
 
9:00pm Tonight
CORN
PSU
 
9:00pm Tonight
SD
SHSU
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTAH
UCR
 
9:30pm Tonight
DUKE
TEMPL
 
10:00pm Tonight
CPSL
DEL
 
10:00pm Tonight
AMER
PBY
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
WASH
 
10:30pm Tonight
LBSU
KYST
 
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
PITT
 
Final
PHI 2
MIN 3
Final
OTT 3
NAS 2
Final
MON 4
STL 1
Final
TOR 5
TAM 2
Final
WIN 3
DET 4
Final
DAL 3
ARI 1
Final
CAL 3
CHI 4
Final
COL 2
WAS 3
Final
VAN 3
ANA 4
Final
LOS 3
CAR 2
Final
SJS 2
FLA 3
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
BOS
 
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
NYI
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUF 0
NYR 0
 
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
NJD
 
Final
OAK 24
KAN 20