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Badgers to face Miami in Champs Sports Bowl

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Associated Press
December 7, 2009
— The University of Wisconsin football team was in high gear Saturday night, hoping to bolster its bid to play in a New Year’s Day bowl game.

Wisconsin’s 51-10 blowout of Hawaii also crushed the Warriors’ hopes of returning to their hometown bowl against their former coach.


But the Badgers’ overpowering effort apparently wasn’t enough. The New Year Day’s bid to the Outback Bowl in Tampa., Fla., that they hoped to get went to Northwestern. Instead, 24th-ranked Wisconsin is headed back to the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla., to face the 14th-rated Miami Hurricanes (9-3) at 7 p.m. (CST) Tuesday, Dec. 29.


Wisconsin lost to Florida State, 42-14, last December in the same bowl—which matches the Big Ten against the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).


The Badgers will be Miami’s first Big Ten opponent since the Hurricanes lost to Ohio State in the 2002 BCS national title game.


Meanwhile, Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year John Clay led the way Saturday night as Wisconsin simply ran over Hawaii. Clay rushed for 172 yards and scored three touchdowns.


Clay finished the regular season with 1,416 yards and 16 touchdowns, and he was a big reason Wisconsin led the Big Ten with 32.8 points per game.


“We came here with one goal, and that was running the ball, and we did that,” Clay said. “Everybody stepped up big, from the offensive line to the tight ends to the receivers. They worked for me so I wanted to work for them.”


Hawaii (6-7) had its four-game winning streak end and fell one victory short of a bid to the Hawaii Bowl. The Warriors had hoped to face former coach June Jones and SMU.


“They just out-physicaled us,” Hawaii coach Greg McMackin said. “They get a lot of mass at a certain point, and we just couldn’t handle it.”


Wisconsin is probably headed to Florida for an appearance in the Outback Bowl or Champs Sports Bowl.


“Wherever we are going, whoever we are playing, I know this: We will prepare, we will work, and we’ll put ourselves in a position to have success,” Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said.


Hawaii’s streaky season is over. SMU has already accepted an invitation to the Hawaii Bowl for its first bowl appearance in 25 years after the school received the NCAA’s death penalty for repeated rules violations. The Mustangs (7-5) will face Nevada (8-4).


Hawaii’s lone touchdown against Wisconsin came on a 2-yard pass from Bryant Moniz to Javonte Taylor in the fourth quarter. Moniz was 15 for 34 for 197 yards and a touchdown but had two interceptions.


Clay’s touchdowns came on runs of 15, 3 and 2 yards. His longest run was 34 yards in the second quarter, setting himself up to score the Badgers’ fourth touchdown as they entered the half with a 27-3 lead.


The Badgers’ rushing attack also was powered by Montee Ball, who had 78 yards and a touchdown, and David Gilreath, 13 yards and a touchdown. Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien was 16 for 20 for 253 yards.


Hawaii’s offense was held to 214 total yards, including only 17 rushing yards. The Warriors’ previous low this season was 301 yards against Louisiana Tech.


Greg Salas fell short of becoming Hawaii’s single-season leader in receptions and receiving yards. He needed six catches and 155 yards to set those school records but instead caught three passes for 31 yards.



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