2017 Cotton Bowl

Wisconsin vs 13-0 Western Michigan in the 2017 Cotton Bowl.

1st Quarter

Wisconsin knows what its about and Clement/Deal/Friends getting north-south trying to establish the run early and often.  The first pass is play action but instead of going vertical it’s a throwback screen and the heavy footed UW lineman can’t get there to give Fumagalli the block he needs to get some yardage.  Fumagalli makes a ridiculous 1-handed grab

Clement does the rest and UW takes the early lead.

WM goes right to Corey Davis, a possible 1st round pick for a big gain.   But pressure from Watt spoils the WM first drive and its back to UW.  Really surprised that TJ Watt is getting so much hype to the point he might leave early but I guess he could.  UW should get Zichy and Orr back next season.

Love the 1st down pass,  Ogunbowale out the backfield catches WM.   jet sweep and run from Clement gashes WM twice more.

WM takes a TO, very basketballish, to try and stop the bleeding.  WM has everyone in the box and it works.  2 carries to Ogunbowalie and its 14-0 UW.

Lets see how WM responds.  Couple easy throws and WM out beyond its own 40.   A rush gets another WM 1st down and first signs of life from WM today.  WM misfires on a slant and on 3rd&10  TJ Watt explodes through the middle and gets the sack.

Alex Hornibrook under center and WM is ready for the Clement run.  Dare goes nowhere and UW staring at a 3rd&long in its own end.  Hornibrook with a long throw complete to Rushing but Rushing had to come back for it and UW is short.  Again,  Hornibrook inability to drive the ball means Rushing had to come back for it.  Very close to a 1st down but I think they got the spot right.

WM still sputtering on offense but on 3rd&7 a throw outside to the sticks gets the WM 1st down and breathes a little life into the Broncos. Couple runs get WM a 1st down but a batted pass very nearly picked off by Dooley.  Obaseh gets it and Dooley really should have had the INT.  WM takes its 2nd TO before the 3rd&12.   UW LB held but no call.  This matters because pass complete short of the sticks but inside the UW 40.  WM goes on 4th&5.  Tipped pass somehow has enough on it to convert.  big break for WM here.  Missed holding call and tipped pass falls into the lap of their best WR.   WM RB fumbles but his elbow is down before the call comes out.  So WM gets another break because UW recovered it.  WM gets another favorable replay reversal on a 2&5 and WM with Goal2Go.   3rd&Goal on a bootleg,  Dooley had a chance 1-on-1 to stone him and completely gets undressed.  14-7 UW.

Jazz Peavy with a monster run on the jet sweep.  WM gambling and winning on run blitzes.  Strong throw from Houston to Rushing picks up 16 on 3rd&15.  That is the difference in the QBs right there.  Hornibrook soft tosses everything and Houston with the stronger arm can drive it.  On 2nd&3, Clement again dropped in the backfield setting up 3rd&3.  False start and on 3rd&8 out of a TO, Fumagalli drops a TD.  Great throw and UW forfeits 4 points right before half.  Nonetheless, UW up 17-7 at the half.

3rd Quarter

WM scrambles out past the 40 on 2nd&9.WM fumbles, no doubt this one is out but heads up football by WM to pounce on it and avert early disaster.  Easy completion to Davis on 3rd&8.  WM picks up so more chunks on the ground storming into the red zone.  On 3rd&7, pressure gets there and pass is a mile off target.  FG cuts the UW lead.  17-10.

Fumagalli boxes out WM to pick up a big 3rd down.  But on the next 3rd&10, WM blitzes and sacks Houston to get the ball right back.    WM muffs the punt but gets back on top of it.  Again, ball on the ground, and again WM survives.  Terribly complex double reverse throw back trick play nonsense gets 5 yards?    Big 3rd&4 and Connelly spills the WM RB in the backfield.    WM punts playing field position down just 7.

Big 1st down throw to Fumagalli.  He is just simply too big.  WR screen and some tough running from Clement gets successive 1st downs.   UW staring at a 3rd&Long as the 3rd quarter ends.

4th Quarter

On 4th&3, Fumagalli over the middle for the 1st down but erased by OPI on UW.  UW ran a pick play with the TEs.  That was a bad call.  Steffes disguised that well.  Big penalty because UW has to punt instead of 1st&10 in the red zone.  UW downs the punt at the 3.

1st down and TJ Edwards just waiting for it and INT the ball and UW is inside the WM 10.  LB just drop straight back as WM QB was looking for a WR (who had slipped down) on a slant.  Just didn’t notice the giant LB?  WM lucky, because if Edwards didn’t collide with the other ILB on the INT he walks into the endzone.  2 carries get little and UW has 3rd&goal from the 6.  Announcers calling their shot with Fumagalli.  Hrornibrook looking that way the entire play and lollipops one to the big TE in the back of the endzone.   24-10 UW with just over 12′ left.

WM having more success on the ground then I was expecting but in about 3′ off the clock WM is just outside the UW 40.  The entire WM playbook is safe high % throws.  3rd&2 gets perhaps just enough thanks to a generous spot and lazy officials who didn’t want to measure.  Still good that UW is starting to make WM earn it as they’ve taken off over 5′ off the clock on this drive.  WM QB gets sandiwched by OBasih and Biegel and WM recovers its 3rd fumble of the game.  That’s a lot of luck.   Are you kidding? TJ Watt knocks it out and somehow WM recovers AGAIN.  Fumbles are 50/50 propositions and WM is 4/4 today.  Dooley again can’t make the play.  A forgettable day for him.  Meahwhile, this drive has taken 7′ and WM converts the 3rd&8.  Pass batted on 2&4 and 3rd&4 does nothing but burn clock.    On 4th&4 WM QB throws up a prayer and UW CB stop playing (shades of HHCD on the 2-pt conversion against Seattle 2014) and Corey Davis does not.  He fields the punt but that was a 9′ drive and culminates in a missed XP.

Peavy muffs the onside but right out of bounds so no harm.  WM has 2 TO left.   Break for UW there.  2 Clement runs get 2 yards and WM uses its 2nd TO.  3rd&8 forthcoming.   Play action and of course its Fumagalli for the conversion as the entire WM D bites on the play action.   UW in FG range and 3rd &15 with 75 seconds left.  FB on end around gets the 1st down and game over.

UW wins 24-16 in a game that really was not as close as the score suggests.



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