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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

Other Stories

  • ACC: Syracuse at NC State

    Saturday at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • SEC: Florida at Kentucky

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Pac 12: Stanford at Arizona

    Saturday at 4:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Big Ten: Wisconsin at Minnesota

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NBA: Dallas at Portland

    Tonight at 9:30 on 99.9 The Fan

  • NHL: Hurricanes vs. Minnesota

    Tomorrow at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
BRK 91
CHA 115
Final
DUKE 94
WAKE 51
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
Final
LOS 4
CWS 6
 
Final
CLE 4
CIN 2
 
Final
TEX 2
KAN 13
 
Final
SFG 2
OAK 9
 
Final
SEA 4
SDP 3
 
Final
MIL 8
WMIL 0
 
Final
COL 3
ARI 6
 
Final
MIN 3
UMIN 1
 
1:05pm Today
DET
ATL
 
1:05pm Today
TAM
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
PIT
NYY
 
1:05pm Today
HOU
PHI
 
1:05pm Today
MIA
STL
 
3:05pm Today
SFG
CHC
 
3:05pm Today
CIN
CLE
 
3:05pm Today
CWS
LOS
 
3:05pm Today
ANA
MIL
 
3:05pm Today
CHC
OAK
 
3:05pm Today
SEA
SDP
 
3:05pm Today
KAN
TEX
 
3:10pm Today
ARI
COL
 
5:05pm Tonight
WAS
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIN
BOS
 
7:05pm Tonight
BAL
TOR
 
Final
IND 105
NYK 82
Final
ORL 100
PHO 105
Final
BRK 91
CHA 115
Final
TOR 112
CLE 120
Final
BOS 85
UTA 84
Final
MIN 85
DEN 100
Final
NOP 88
DET 85
 
Final
MIA 100
LAL 94
Final
HOU 100
MEM 102
Final
OKC 123
PHI 118
Final
SAN 112
SAC 85
Final
GSW 102
MIL 93
Final
LAC 93
POR 98
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
OKC
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
DAL
 
Final
UNCA 80
LIB 70
 
Final
PSU 67
OSU 77
Final
USB 62
BING 57
 
Final
FORD 66
DUQ 81
Final
GMAS 51
GWU 67
Final
UNH 67
HART 63
 
Final
STJOE 55
LAS 50
Final
Terriers 79
LIU 70
 
Final
GTDNS 83
MAINE 66
 
Final
LOU 59
ND 71
Final
SHU 66
PROV 79
Final
BRY 91
SHU 85
 
Final
MORE 79
SEMIZ 74
Final
MNTER 58
RFLSH 73
 
Final
LSU 63
TENN 78
Final
SFLA 74
UCF 45
Final
VERM 66
UMBC 39
 
Final
RMU 91
WAGN 68
 
Final
UMASS 53
RICH 56
Final
TULA 63
HOU 68
Final
YALE 71
HOW 62
 
Final
PITT 63
MIAMI 67
Final
TXPA 48
NMST 69
 
Final
MSU 72
PURD 66
Final
STLU 48
BONA 64
Final
DUKE 94
WAKE 51
Final
TULSA 47
CIN 56
Final
VANDY 66
MSST 56
Final
OKST 82
TCU 70
Final
UCLA 85
USC 74
Final
WYO 76
UTST 53
Final
MARQ 51
STJ 67
Final
EILL 78
SIUE 66
Final
FRES 68
AFA 66
Final
NEV 62
COLST 78
Final
ILL 69
NEB 57
Final
SJST 51
BSU 68
Final
ORST 62
OREG 65
Final
UNLV 58
SDST 60
Final
HAW 90
UCSB 98
 
5:00pm Tonight
SIENA
NIAG
 
7:00pm Tonight
LEH
AMER
 
7:00pm Tonight
SCAR
ARK
 
7:00pm Tonight
LAF
BU
 
7:00pm Tonight
PETE
FAIR
 
7:00pm Tonight
BUCK
HC
 
7:00pm Tonight
UNF
LIP
 
7:00pm Tonight
TENNM
MORE
 
7:00pm Tonight
COL
NAVY
 
7:00pm Tonight
ECU
TEMPL
 
7:00pm Tonight
FATL
UAB
 
7:00pm Tonight
FLGC
USCU
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHAR
WKENT
 
7:00pm Tonight
MINN
WISC
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIZST
SILL
 
7:30pm Tonight
COPST
DELST
 
7:30pm Tonight
FIU
MTST
 
7:30pm Tonight
MDES
MRGST
 
7:30pm Tonight
HAMP
NORST
 
7:30pm Tonight
NCCU
NCAT
 
7:30pm Tonight
COOK
SCST
 
7:30pm Tonight
APP
TXST
 
7:30pm Tonight
GSOUT
TXARL
 
8:00pm Tonight
LAMON
UGST
 
8:00pm Tonight
ODU
MARS
 
8:00pm Tonight
TXSA
RICE
 
8:00pm Tonight
FAM
SAV
 
8:00pm Tonight
LATU
SMISS
 
8:15pm Tonight
LALAF
ARKLR
 
8:30pm Tonight
JST
ALAAM
 
8:30pm Tonight
GRAM
ALAST
 
8:30pm Tonight
TXSOU
ALCOR
 
8:30pm Tonight
MVSU
ARKPB
 
8:30pm Tonight
NICST
CARK
 
8:30pm Tonight
TAMCC
HOUB
 
8:30pm Tonight
NARZ
PORST
 
8:30pm Tonight
LAM
SHSU
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARKST
SALA
 
8:30pm Tonight
PVU
SOUTH
 
8:45pm Tonight
NO
SELA
 
9:00pm Tonight
INCWORD
ABCHRIST
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARZ
CAL
 
9:00pm Tonight
WASH
COL
 
9:00pm Tonight
BEL
EILL
 
9:00pm Tonight
WEBER
IDAHO
 
9:00pm Tonight
QUIN
MAR
 
9:00pm Tonight
UCONN
MEM
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
UNT
 
9:00pm Tonight
STEPH
NWST
 
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
SACST
 
9:00pm Tonight
DAVID
VCU
 
9:05pm Tonight
IDST
EWASH
 
9:35pm Tonight
DRAK
BRAD
 
10:00pm Tonight
LBSU
CSNO
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCI
CSFU
 
10:00pm Tonight
UCD
UCR
 
11:00pm Tonight
ARST
STAN
 
11:00pm Tonight
WASU
UTAH
 
Final
WIN 1
OTT 3
Final
DET 2
NYR 1
Final
ANA 3
MON 1
Final
COL 3
PIT 1
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
CAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
WAS
MIN
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
STL
 
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
DAL
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
NYI
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
VAN
 
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
MON