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Film Preview: 2018 Pinstripe Bowl, Wisconsin Badgers Offense

The Badgers offense is built on power running

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin offense drove the Badgers season in 2018. When the offense moved the football the Badgers won and finished 7-5 on the regular season. Wisconsin’s defense took a toll, but also the lack of a passing game kept the Badgers from being able to come from behind. They still held the 13rd ranked offense per the S&P+ and that was because of Jonathan Taylor.

Taylor has ran for over 1800 yards and amassed 4,000 yards from scrimmage in his two years in Madison, WI. A year ago in the Orange Bowl Miami held Taylor to 130 yards and no scores. However, that wasn’t enough to beat the Badgers when the offense stalled in the second half. In the rematch in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl the ‘Canes will face Jack Coan with Alex Hornibrook out again with concussion symptoms.

Coan has struggled mightily in 2018 averaging only 5 yards per passing attempt. The offense will be a slew of tight ends and fullbacks in an attempt to outmuscle the ‘Canes defensive line and linebackers.

Double Tight Double Wing

A double tight - double wing formation makes a ton of sense for Wisconsin. The Badgers will attempt to outsize Miami and hang their hat on Taylor. Here, the Badgers kick the defensive end, and wrap the backside tackle through as a lead blocker for Taylor. He springs a huge gain underneath the down blocks and kick out of the end.

Her’s a nice split zone I believe from the Badgers. Taylor presses hard off the block of the left guard and he uses the slow to, fast through approach to running the football for a nice gain. Also, I love the stiff arm and this run reminds me of old Miami great James Jackson from the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

How to take advantage of Wisconsin

Eventually teams will get greedy. Offensive coordinators like to take their big shot because working at 4-5 yards per carry down the field takes extreme patience. If Miami can hold Taylor to five yards per carry, again, Coan won’t take advantage of the back seven quite the way Hornibrook did a year ago.

The 2017 Miami secondary made Alex Hornibrook look like Cam Newton and Tom Brady had a love child. Hornibrook tossed four touchdowns with no turnovers on 258 passing yards in the Orange Bowl. The Turnover Chain never made an appearance and Miami dropped the game by 10 points.

It’s situations like on 4th and 5 against Penn State that Miami has to get the Badgers stuck in. If you can force Wisconsin into multiple receiver sets and mandatory passing downs Miami can force them and Coan to throw the football. Coan has been inaccurate and the Miami defensive line, when not being held, can get after the passer.


The Hurricanes secondary was picked apart in the Orange Bowl a year ago and I don’t think Coan will accomplish the same. The Badgers defense took a step back and Miami is going to have to find a way to string together complete passes and to run the football. The ‘Canes running game was improving weekly towards the end of the season, but against weaker defensive competition per the S&P+ metrics.

If Miami can throw the football better than last year’s 42% with three interceptions the game can be Miami’s to win. However, Miami’s Gerald Willis sitting out the game and the weather report of snow and freezing temperatures has the ‘Canes as a one point underdog.

Prediction: Wisconsin by 1