South Carolina’s passing game too much for Wisconsin


Scott Stuart/Eclipse Sportswire

The Badgers lost to South Carolina New Years Day 2014 in the Capital One Bowl.

The South Carolina Gamecocks were able to pull out the victory against the Wisconsin Badgers New Years Day 2014, winning the game 34-24. The game was closely contested throughout, but the Gamecocks were able to gain a 10 point lead in the 4th quarter and hold on to it in order to win.

The badgers were able to run the ball very well all season and this rung true in this game as well. Melvin Gordon had 143 rushing yards followed closely by James White’s 107. Gordon and White ended the season with 1,466 and 1,337 yards respectively. The Gamecock’s running back, who was one of the top rushers in the SEC all year, Michael Davis was only able to get 49 yards capping off his 1,134 yard season.

In the third quarter the Badgers quarterback, Joel Stave, took a big shot and had to leave the game a few plays later. He was taken to the locker room and did not play for the remainder of the game. The badgers were not getting much out of the passing game to begin with only accumulating 84 yards through the air, but after the Stave injury their ability to move the ball in big chunks was extremely limited.

While Wisconsin dominated the running battle with 293 total rushing yards against South Carolina’s 117, the real difference maker in the game was South Carolina’s ability to move the ball through the air. Wisconsin defensive backs seemed listless throughout much of the game giving up 321 total passing yards. Not only did they allow many yards, they also gave up many big throws including two touchdowns to South Carolina’s top receiver, Bruce Ellington. Bruce Ellington even threw a passing TD to their quarterback, Connor Shaw, on a trick play.

Shaw had five total touchdowns on the day (3 passing, 1 rushing, 1 receiving). He was a senior quarterback who consistently put together solid games but was never thought of as one of the best quarterbacks in the country. He certainly ended his college career on a high note and was able to demonstrate his pinpoint accuracy completing 22 of 25 passes.

The Gamecock’s highly touted defensive end, Jadeveon Clowney, who is predicted by many to be the top pick in the NFL draft this year started out a bit slow but came on at the end. He had a few tackles and quarterback pressures in the game, but on the last few drives he deflected three passes and severely limited Wisconsin’s ability to move the ball passing. Clowney was hyped up by almost every media outlet this year who expected him to have a season for the ages. While he under produced this year he did have an impact in taking up double teams and helping his teammates make plays. Throughout the season he has been known to take a few plays and even sometimes entire series off, and in this game he did have some lackluster plays, but for the most part he was a defensive presence.

The South Carolina Gamecocks have now put together three 11 win seasons in a row and look forward to next season only losing five offensive starters and having many defensive players coming back as well. They do not have a long history of football excellence but are starting to build a reputation as a top flight program.

Wisconsin has also experienced a great deal of success the past four years; making three Rose Bowls and a Capital One Bowl this season. Even though they lost all of them they are still one of the top teams in the Big 10 year in and year out, and look to improve against teams outside of the Big 10 so that they will be recognized on the national stage.