Hurricanes fall to Badgers, lose on home turf at Orange Bowl
Miami drops third straight game after 10-0 start
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – So much for having the home-field advantage.
The No. 11 Miami Hurricanes embarrassed ranked opponents at Hard Rock Stadium throughout the season and hadn't lost on their home field in more than a year, but that all came to an end Saturday on an unseasonably cool evening in South Florida.
Sixth-ranked Wisconsin fans danced to House of Pain's "Jump Around" as the waning seconds of the clock ticked away, celebrating a school-record 13th win after a 34-24 victory in a familiar setting for the Hurricanes (10-3).
Badgers quarterback Alex Hornibrook had one of his finest performances of the season, completing 23 of 34 passes, throwing for 203 yards and four touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Miami quarterback Malik Rosier threw three interceptions, likely opening the door for an open competition heading into next season.
The loss was Miami's third in a row after a 10-0 start, putting a damper on a season that brought the Hurricanes their first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division championship and had them in the thick of the national championship hunt for the first time in more than a decade.
"We will get better, I can promise you that," Miami coach Mark Richt said after the game.
The "turnover chain" came out early for Miami. It was one of the signature moments on Miami's sideline all season long, but it was largely forgotten Saturday night.
Senior cornerback Dee Delaney recovered a fumble by Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor on Wisconsin's first possession, but Miami couldn't capitalize after kicker Michael Badgley's 53-yard field-goal attempt fell short of the goal posts.
Wisconsin (13-1) got on the scoreboard first with a 35-yard field goal by Rafael Gaglianone to take a 3-0 lead with 7:58 to play in the first quarter, but Miami dominated the rest of the period.
Sophomore running back Travis Homer gave Miami its first touchdown from 5 yards out, capping a seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive to take a 7-3 lead.
After a penalty on the kickoff gave Wisconsin the ball at its own 9-yard line, Miami's defense forced a 3-and-out, and the short punt by Anthony Lotti gave the Hurricanes the ball back at the Wisconsin 45.
It took just 29 seconds for Miami to score again. Freshman running back DeeJay Dallas raced 39 yards untouched into the end zone on his second carry of the possession, giving Miami a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Just when Miami appeared to have the game in control, the momentum shifted Wisconsin's way.
Badgers linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel intercepted Rosier's pass on the second play of the second quarter, and Hornibrook connected with Danny Davis on a 20-yard touchdown three plays later.
Thus began a quarter in which Wisconsin outscored the Hurricanes 21-0.
Wisconsin regained the lead after fullback Austin Ramesh caught the pass from Hornibrook and leaped over a Miami defender to get the first down. Hornibrook's next pass was a 16-yard touchdown to A.J. Taylor with 5:49 to play in the second quarter.
Hornibrook threw his third touchdown pass of the quarter to Davis with 28 seconds left before halftime, giving the Badgers a 24-14 lead at the break.
The scoring play was preceded by a Miami penalty on Richt, who was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after he came onto the field to argue a call. ESPN footage showed Richt yelling and putting his hand on an official.
"I know I lost my cool, I thought rightfully so as far as being mad, but not rightfully so using some of the language I used," Richt said.
Rosier's lone touchdown pass of the evening came when he hooked up with leading receiver Lawrence Cager on a 38-yard score in the third quarter, cutting Wisconsin's lead to three points.
The Hurricanes kept the game within reach thanks to Badgley's 41-yard field goal with 11:34 remaining, but another Hornibrook-to-Davis pass put Wisconsin ahead 34-24.
Taylor finished with 130 yards on the ground, breaking the FBS freshman rushing record previously set by Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson in 2004.
Miami had the chance to make it a one-possession game, but the Hurricanes were doomed by costly errors. Badgley uncharacteristically missed again on a 24-yard field-goal try that bounced off the upright and hit the ground at the 4:34 mark. Then Rosier was intercepted with 18 seconds to play.
"They were fast, they were physical and they just did a great job at making me throw low-percentage passes, so I tip my cap off to those guys," Rosier said of Wisconsin's defense.
Miami, playing in its first Orange Bowl since the 2003 season, hadn't lost at Hard Rock Stadium since Oct. 15, 2006.
Now the Hurricanes will have to regroup and try to recapture some of that Miami swagger that caught South Florida by storm for much of the season.
"Our program is definitely moving in the direction we want it to move," Richt said. "I think we definitely got better."
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