Alex Hornibrook’s second-career four-touchdown game came at a pretty opportune time.
The Wisconsin quarterback’s passing performance Saturday night in the Orange Bowl helped Wisconsin beat Miami 34-24. Hornibrook threw for 258 yards as the Wisconsin offense picked apart Miami’s defense.
His fourth touchdown pass is what sealed the game for the Badgers. Hornibrook found wide receiver Danny Davis for a six-yard touchdown and a 34-24 lead with 7:44 remaining.
Miami drove down the field with a chance to cut the lead to three but had to settle for a field goal try. Kicker Michael Badgley’s 23-yard attempt hit the right upright and didn’t go in.
Perhaps more impressive than Hornibrook’s four touchdowns was his zero-interception performance. The sophomore had tossed interceptions in 10 of Wisconsin’s previous 13 games and Miami — the purveyors of the turnover chain — had one of the most opportune defenses in the country.
But Hornibrook made smart and accurate throws all night. And it was Miami that turned the ball over more than Wisconsin did. The Badgers’ night got off to an inauspicious start when freshman running back Jonathan Taylor fumbled on the fourth play of the game. But that was Wisconsin’s only turnover while Miami quarterback Malik Rosier threw two turnovers.
After fumbling on Wisconsin’s first drive, Taylor broke former Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson’s record for most rushing yards by a freshman in a season.
Wisconsin went up 24-14 just before halftime on Hornibrook’s third touchdown pass of the night. That touchdown was set up by a key third down throw by Hornibrook to Kendric Pryor for 21 yards. And an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Miami coach Mark Richt.
Richt somehow avoided an ejection after making contact with an official, apparently protesting the lack of a holding call on that third down play. A play after Richt’s penalty (and the 21-yard completion), Davis caught a five-yard touchdown pass.
That lead was the third-straight touchdown for the Badgers, who trailed at one point 14-3.
Wisconsin finishes the season 13-1, a loss away from making the College Football Playoff. The Badgers weren’t selected as part of the top four after losing to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. Miami ends the season at 10-3.
The Badgers win also means it’s all on Michigan to keep the Big Ten’s undefeated bowl streak alive. The conference is 7-0 in bowl games so far with just the Wolverines against South Carolina in the Outback Bowl to go. Can Jim Harbaugh’s team move the conference to 8-0? We’ll find out Monday.
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