Badgers in High Cotton

A lot of folks said before yesterday's Cotton Bowl Wisconsin was in a "no win" situation.

Those folks are wrong, as the Badgers earned a 24 - 16 victory over the Broncos to win its first Cotton Bowl trophy.

Western Michigan, a great team in the MAC, is the kind of team B1G teams schedule during the non-conference portion of their schedule to get a test and a victory.

The thought was a Badger win would be seen as no big deal while a Badger loss a disaster.

The Cotton Bowl matched the undefeated squad from Kalamazoo with the Power 5 conference team out of Madison.

Many expected Western Michigan to continue the performance of other non-Power 5 conferences schools which won the last two years.

Just off the start of the game, it looked like a potential blow-out as Wisconsin's huge offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and each run covered large chunks of turf.  By the end of the 1st quarter it was 14 - 0.

The Broncos showed their stuff, fighting to get back in the game and it was 17 - 7 at the half.  They got as close as 7 when they added a field goal in the 3rd quarter.

Each team scored a touchdown in the final stanza with Western Michigan missing the point after for the final 8 point margin.

Wisconsin did its thing.  They ran the ball 186 yards.  The biggest runs were turned in by two speedy receivers who turned five end-around plays into 84 yards.

Quarterbacks Bart Houston, the 5th year senior, and red-shirt freshman Alex Hornibrook connected on 13 of 14 pass attempts.  The one miss should have been caught.

Linebacker T.J. Edwards picked off the Western Mich quarterback in the fourth quarter at the Bronco 12.  The Badgers converted it into an 8 yard TD pass from Hornibrook to tight-end Troy Fumagalli.

Fumagalli was amazing.  His first catch was a tumbling, one-handed grab for an early first down and his last secured a first down which helped the team run out the clock.

The tough Badger defense controlled the bucking Broncos, holding them well under their usual scoring average of 43.5 points per game.

Coach Paul Chryst, in his second year, continues to impress.  There was every reason for the Badgers to phone this game in after losing the B1G Championship game last month, but they were prepared and played hard throughout.

Coming into this season, the Badgers schedule looked difficult.

Many said and wrote the team might be better than last year's team and not finish 10 -3.

Bucky wraps up the 2016 campaign with 11 wins and 3 losses (to #3 Ohio State, #8 Michigan, and #5 Penn State).

That's performing in the highest of cotton in any year.  Way to go Badgers and On Wisconsin!