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Steady Badgers run over 'Canes

Wisconsin’s John Clay runs past Miami’s Colin McCarthy for one of his two 3-yard touchdowns in the first half.

Associated Press

Wisconsin’s John Clay runs past Miami’s Colin McCarthy for one of his two 3-yard touchdowns in the first half.

ORLANDO — All that Miami speed was no match for the big, bad Badgers.

John Clay had 121 yards rushing and two touchdowns, powering No. 24 Wisconsin past No. 14 Miami 20-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl on Tuesday night.

"Two good teams competed," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. "Our defense played its tail off.''

Clay ran through, over and around the Hurricanes to help the Badgers (10-3) earn their first victory over a ranked opponent this season and claim a big win for the Big Ten.

"People all year long, going back to last season, didn't think a lot about this team," Bielema said. "Guys battled back to get to 10 wins."

Scott Tolzien threw for 260 yards, and Montee Ball added 61 yards rushing for a Wisconsin team touted as too big and too slow for the dynamic Hurricanes.

Miami's Jacory Harris struggled before throwing a touchdown pass to Thearon Collier with 1:22 remaining.

The Hurricanes recovered the onside kick, but Harris threw incomplete on fourth down to end any hope of a comeback.

Harris, who threw for 188 yards, was slowed by an injured right thumb, brace around his left leg and a Badgers team that smothered him with four sacks. Miami lost Graig Cooper to a right knee injury in the second quarter. His status was not known.

The Hurricanes (9-4) had a fast start. Sam Shields took a reverse from Cooper on the opening kickoff, zipped up the middle then cut down the left sideline for a touchdown. But an illegal block in the back returned the ball to the Wisconsin 16-yard line.

Shields was credited with an 84-yard return, a Hurricanes bowl record. Cooper had a 16-yard touchdown run on the next play that gave Miami the lead 23 seconds into the game.

That was about the only thing that went wrong for the Badgers.

Their big and bulky lines bullied the speedy Hurricanes.

Clay had all sorts of seams to run through, and he bulldozed his way to the rest of his yards.

The Big Ten offensive player of the year ripped through a hole for a 52-yard run and followed that with his second 3-yard touchdown run of the game to put Wisconsin ahead 14-7 in the second quarter. The Badgers added a 37-yard field goal by Phillip Welch.

But they blew a chance to send Miami home early.

Garrett Graham caught a 20-yard pass at the Hurricanes 5, fumbled after a hard hit by Brandon Harris and the ball was recovered by Miami's Randy Phillips in the end zone.

The Hurricanes never could take advantage.

Harris later fumbled after being sacked by O'Brien Schofield with 7:49 left. The ball was recovered by J.J. Watt.

After the game, Miami leading receiver Leonard Hankerson said he will return for his senior season. Orlando Franklin, who is expected to be Miami's starting left tackle next season, said he plans on returning for his final season, and defensive lineman Allen Bailey says he's likely coming back.

No. 24 Wisc. 20

No. 14 Miami 14

By the numbers

1 Win over a ranked team for Wisconsin this season after beating Miami.

6 Straight seasons Miami hasn't reached 10 wins.

42 Carries for the Badgers for 170 yards.

39:15 How long Wisconsin held the ball, compared with 20:45 for Miami.

84 Yards on the opening kickoff return by Sam Shields for a Miami bowl record.

Steady Badgers run over 'Canes 12/30/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 8:02am]
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