What to Know
On Saturday, Miami will be facing a Wisconsin Badgers team who came within one touchdown of being in the College Football Playoff.
Miami last appeared in the game back in 2003, when they defeated FSU 16-14 inside what is now Hard Rock Stadium.
For the first time in nearly a decade and a half, the Miami Hurricanes will be enjoying bowl season at home – taking part in the 84th annual Orange Bowl football game.
Under second year head coach Mark Richt, the ‘Canes continued their rebuilding project and finished the 2017 regular season with their first 10 win season since 2003 – coincidently, the last season they played in the Orange Bowl.
On Saturday, Miami will be facing a Wisconsin Badgers team who came within one touchdown of being in the College Football Playoff this season. Here’s a preview of both teams and the history behind the Hurricanes playing in their hometown bowl game.
Miami Football 2017 Recap
After getting their first bowl win in a decade last season, the Hurricanes entered this season with hopes of making their first ACC Championship Game since joining the conference in 2004. After winning their opener on September 2nd, Miami wouldn’t see the field again for three weeks before winning their next two games.
The ‘Canes got their first milestone of the season on October 7th, when they defeated rival Florida State (in a game postponed due to Hurricane Irma) for the first time since 2009 on a last second touchdown with six seconds to go. Miami would continue their streak of close games, winning the next three contests by a combined 14 points.
Miami started November with two convincing wins over ranked teams – including a blowout of then No. 3 Notre Dame in front of a sold out Hard Rock Stadium crowd – and entered the final week of the regular season ranked second in the country before being upset by Pittsburgh. The ‘Canes would make it to the conference title game, being beaten by No. 1 ranked Clemson 38-3 on December 2nd.
Miami is led by quarterback Malik Rosier as the redshirt junior through for 2,917 yards and 25 touchdowns in his first full year as a starter. The ‘Canes have had to deal with injuries at running back that sidelined Mark Walton after the FSU game, with Travis Homer finishing as the leading rusher with 902 yards and seven touchdowns. Senior Braxton Berrios was the team’s leading receiver with 634 yards and nine touchdown receptions.
Wisconsin Football 2017 Recap
Over the course of this past season, the Badgers and head coach Paul Chryst found themselves doing what you want a team to do – win every game they play – and still were among the most looked over teams in the country.
Wisconsin won all 12 of their regular season games – including a victory over Florida Atlantic – along with victories over ranked teams Northwestern, Iowa and Michigan but still found themselves out of the four team playoff entering the first week of December, when they would face the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten Championship Game.
The Badgers would fall behind by two touchdowns before coming back, cutting the deficit to three points late in the fourth quarter. However, that was as close as Wisconsin would get as they suffered their first loss of the season – but get rewarded with their first ever visit to play in the Orange Bowl.
Wisconsin will be led by quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who threw for almost 2,400 yards and 21 touchdowns while having the safety net at running back of Jonathan Taylor – who rank for 1,847 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. Troy Fumagalli was the leading receiver with 516 yards and four touchdowns.
Orange Bowl History
For the 84th time, the Orange Bowl game will showcase some of college football’s best as the historic game welcomes the Hurricanes for the 10th time – tying them with the rival FSU Seminoles for third most in the history of the game.
Miami last appeared in the game back in 2003, when they defeated FSU 16-14 inside what is now Hard Rock Stadium. The game moved from its original home inside the iconic Orange Bowl Stadium before the 1996 season to what was then called Pro Player Stadium – where 20 of the last 21 games have been played ever since (the 1998 season’s game was moved back to the Orange Bowl due to a conflict with the Miami Dolphins).
Miami won three of their national championships (1983, 1987 and 1991) in the game, while 15 other national champions have been crowned after winning the Orange Bowl.
Two other champions, Florida in 2008 and Alabama in 2012, won in national title games hosted by the Orange Bowl committee – who will again crown a champion in the 2020 season when the host the College Football Playoff title game.