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2014 Capital One - South Carolina 34, UW 24

2014 Capital One - South Carolina 34, UW 24

2013-2014 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2014 Capital One Bowl

Capital One Bowl
South Carolina 34, Wisconsin 24
Basically … Connor Shaw was unstoppable, completing 22-of-25 passes with three touchdown passes and a nine-ard touchdown catch on a trick play on the way to a 27-24 lead, and he put the game away in the last six minutes on a one-yard touchdown run. Shaw found Bruce Ellington for touchdown passes from 39 and 22 yards out, and Ellington found Shaw on the scoring pass, but Wisconsin had the lead early in the third quarter after two short Joel Stave touchdown passes in the first half and a 35-yard Jack Russell field goal. The Gamecocks took control of the game on both sides of the ball on the way to a 27-17 lead, but Kenzel Doe answered a three-yard Jerell Adams touchdown catch with a 91-yard kickoff return for a score to pull UW within three. Stave was knocked out with a shoulder injury, and Curt Phillips couldn't pick up the slack with two interceptions including one late that would've given the Badgers a last gasp shot.

- South Carolina QB Connor Shaw completed 22-of-25 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns, ran 16 times for 47 yards and a score, and caught a pass for nine yards and a touchdown.
- South Carolina RB Mike Davis ran nine times for 49 yards before getting hurt.
- South Carolina WR Bruce Ellington caught six passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Shaq Roland caught six passes for 112 yards.
- South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney made five tackles with two broken up passes and a tackle for loss.
- Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon ran 25 times for 143 yards and James White ran 12 times for 107
- Wisconsin QB Joel Stave completed 9-of-13 passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns and a pick before getting hurt, and QB Curt Phillips completed 7-of-12 passes for 37 yards and two picks.

CFN PREVIEW

Wisconsin (9-3) vs. South Carolina (10-2) Jan. 1, 1 pm ABC

Here's The Deal … This is always like an extra BCS game, but lately it's been an SEC coronation with three ugly blowouts in a row and four wins in the last five. This year, though, it's a redemption game for the winner and it should be a tough, pounding battle. It'll also be one those proverbial "measuring stick" games going into next season.

South Carolina was achingly, painfully close to winning the East and playing for the SEC title. The Gamecocks were a late gag against a mediocre Tennessee team away from getting to Atlanta to face Auburn, but along the way after an early loss to Georgia they managed to beat Missouri – in what would've been the SEC Game of the Year in almost any other season if it wasn't for Auburn's magic – and got by UCF and Clemson. How many other teams out there can say they beat two teams in the BCS?

None.

This wasn't always the flashiest USC team, and it was a bit disappointing at times defensively, and it didn't always bring the A effort for a full 60 minutes, but 10-2 is 10-2 for an SEC team, especially with such a solid resume. This is the first time the Gamecocks are playing the Badgers, and they're going to have to be ready for one of the most physical games of the season.

Wisconsin doesn't have the big wins South Carolina came up with – beating BYU, Iowa and Minnesota were the three lone wins over teams that got to a bowl – but it's coming in with a major chip on its shoulder after gaffing its way through a strange loss to Penn State. If Bill O'Brien doesn't get the Houston Texans job based on what happened in Madison, it certainly helped thanks to a puzzling gameplan by a UW coaching staff that forgot that its ground game is one of the best in America.

Hosed by the officials in the loss to Arizona State, and coming up just short in the second half against Ohio State on the road, the Badgers lost their two high-profile games, and won a lot of layups against the Purdues and Tennessee Techs of the world. However, a win over South Carolina would legitimate Gary Andersen's first season as the Bucky head coach, and it would show that the Big Ten really can play with the SEC – at least sometimes.

Wisconsin might have lost the last three Rose Bowls, but over the years it's been decent against SEC teams going 2-0 in Capital One Bowls and 2-3 against the SEC since 2004. But the program has fallen on hard post-season times winning one of its last six goal games since blowing past Arkansas in the 2007 Capital One. South Carolina has won its last two bowl games beating Michigan in last year's Outback and blowing away Nebraska in the 2012 Capital One, but before that there were problems with three straight losses and four in five going back to 2005. While a win for Wisconsin would make it four double-digit campaigns in five years, a win by the Gamecocks would make it three straight 11-win campaigns.

Players to Watch: Just how much does Mr. Speedy - Jadeveon Clowney - want to be here? With a speeding ticket problem, he's been making more noise in his car than on the field, but he's still considered a top five pick, if not No. 1 overall, no matter what he does against the Badgers. Last year he came up with the iconic blowup hit in the win over Michigan, but he fizzled throughout this year with just 35 tackles and three sacks with 10.5 tackles for loss. He's still a disruptive force and he's without question the most talented defensive lineman in college football, but is he going to use this as one final showcase for the NFL scouts, or is he going to mostly care about not getting hurt? With more than a month off to rest and heal up, he might be a different player in what almost certainly will be his final collegiate game.

While Clowney is all but gone, and his Heisman candidacy never got off the ground, Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon is returning and could be one of the front-runners if he rips through the Gamecocks. Despite splitting time with James White, Gordon ran for 1,466 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging over eight yards per carry. Explosive and dangerous in the open field, all he needs is a little bit of a step and he's gone. However, he only ran for 100 yards once over the last five games, while White ran for 1,337 yards and 13 touchdowns with four 100-yard games over the last five. The two rotate and stay fresh, but if they don't combine for well over 200 yards, the Badgers are in trouble.

This is White's last game, and it's also the final game in the fabulous career of UW's Jared Abbrederis, one of the nation's best route runners making 73 catches for 1,051 yards and seven scores. If everything goes right for the Badger attack, White and Gordon run and run and run some more, and then the safeties cheat up, and then Abbrederis is left one on one catching the USC defense napping. A big play target, he ripped apart Ohio State for 207 yards and a score on ten catches, and he was the lone bright spot against Penn State with 12 catches for 135 yards.

South Carolina QB Connor Shaw came off the bench to have his moment against Missouri, playing hurt but rallying the team back to a phenomenal win that, at the end of the day, didn't really mean anything, but it sure was fun and it showed just how valuable he is to the attack. Last year, Dylan Thompson played a huge role in the win over Michigan, but Shaw is the catalyst and the main man this season, throwing for 2,135 yards and 21 touchdowns with just one pick, to go along with 511 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He's the sort of smart, veteran quarterback that gives Wisconsin's defense fits, and he should be in for a huge day because ...

South Carolina will win if … Shaw isn't afraid to keep pushing the ball deep. The Badgers have a mediocre pass rush and a secondary that gets toasted by anyone who attempts the forward pass and doesn't stop trying. The Gamecocks have to take the fight to Wisconsin defensive front by trying to outbully the bully, and with RB Mike Davis softening things up in the interior. Forget that UW is sixth in the nation in pass efficiency defense; the big plays through the air should be there.

Defensively, the key will be to make Joel Stave win the game. Everyone tries to do that, but the aggressive and active South Carolina defensive front should be able to outquick the UW O line and make plenty of plays behind the line. Get to Gordon and White before they can get started, and Wisconsin has to start throwing. That's when things start to breakdown for the Badger attack.

Wisconsin will win if … it wins the turnover battle. This goes for everyone in every game, but South Carolina doesn't come up with a slew of takeaways and is a different team when it doesn't force mistakes. The Gamecocks didn't force a turnover in three games this season. One time was in a way-too-close win over Kentucky, the other two were against Georgia and Tennessee – the two losses.

The Badgers have to keep running the ball, even if it doesn't work right away. South Carolina can be run on, but it has to take a commitment – that shouldn't be a problem for UW no matter what the score. Bret Bielema knows a little something about the Wisconsin offense and how to pound the ball, and his Arkansas team ran for 218 yards against the Gamecocks. Georgia got tough and ran for 227.

What Will Happen: At the very least, expect a close game. Going back to a 34-24 loss to Michigan State in mid-2010 that was far closer than the final score, the last 13 Badger losses – and 14 of the last 15 going back to mid-October of 2009 - have been by seven points or fewer. The problem is that South Carolina might be a bad matchup for UW with too much balance, a quarterback with too much moxie, and a defense with a superstar looking to become a Houston Texan.

Prediction: South Carolina 30 … Wisconsin 24
Line: Wisconsin -1 … o/u: 51
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