Gary Anderson’s first bowl game as the head coach of the Wisconsin Badgers
didn’t go according to plan.
The 19th ranked Badgers had no answer for (8) South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw, who completed 22 of 25 passes for 312 yards and 3 touchdowns. Shaw also caught a touchdown pass and rushed for a fifth as the Gamecocks beat another Big Ten team in a bowl game and won an 11th game for the third straight season.
The Badgers ended their season with two straight defeats and finished 9-4. That’s four straight bowl defeats for the Badgers, which means the current group of 22 seniors has never finished a season at Wisconsin with a victory.
In Wisconsin’s regular season ending loss to Penn State, they didn’t get enough from their passing game. That was the case again yesterday. Joel Stave left with a shoulder injury late in the third quarter, but even when he was in the game, the Badgers offered little threat down field. Stave finished 9 of 13 for 80 yards and two touchdowns and one interception.
Curt Phillips took over and completed just 7 of 12 passes for 37 yards.
The Badgers had a difficult time with the South Carolina receivers. Bruce Ellington had 6 catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns and Shaq Roland 6 catches for 112 yards.
The Badgers moved the ball throughout the game despite their passing issues. Melvin Gordon (25 carries, 143 yards) and James White (12 carries, 107 yards) combined to rush for 250 of the Badgers 293 rushing yards.
The combined total gives Gordon and White the Football Bowl Subdivision single season record for most rushing yards by teammates. The Badgers backs broke the record previously held by Nevada’s Cody Fajardo and Stefphon Jefferson (3,004 yds) set n 2012. Gordon and White needed 202 yards to break the record and did so in the third quarter. The tandem finished with 3,053 yards this season.
Too many times, the Badgers got the ball into the red zone and came away empty-handed.
With South Carolina leading 34-24, Wisconsin’s Kenzel Doe returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown.
South Carolina earned its third straight bowl victory against a Big Ten team. The Gamecocks have wins over Nebraska, Michigan and Wisconsin in that order. It also marks a third straight year that South Carolina has finished with 11 victories (11-2).