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Jeff Potrykus | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | December 22, 2017

Badgers put OSU loss behind them, gear up for Orange Bowl

  Alex Hornibrook will try to lead Wisconsin to one more win this season vs. Miami.

MADISON -- Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst and his players know the drill:

Lose in the Big Ten championship game, with the outcome still in doubt until the final minute, and face one question above all others.

Will the UW players be able to recover from the defeat and be ready to win their bowl game?

That question faced Chryst after UW fell to Penn State in the 2016 league title game and the Badgers were paired against Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl. They started quickly and prevailed, 24-16, to finish 11-3.

That question is popular again this week because UW lost to Ohio State in the league title game, falling one victory short of the College Football Playoff.

Will No. 6 UW (12-1) be motivated and prepared to face No. 11 Miami (10-2) in the Orange Bowl on Dec. 30?

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"It was a tough loss and guys put it out there," Chryst acknowledged. "And yet I feel like I know this team. So they'll be ready to go.

"And we talked about it after the game. The thing that is fortunate is there is one more game with this team. And knowing this group ... last week hurt and yet they'll move forward. They're looking forward to getting together and playing."

UW held its first full-team bowl workout Sunday, six days since the loss to Ohio State.

"I still haven't accepted it but you've got to move on," senior cornerback Derrick Tindal said of the 27-21 loss to the Buckeyes. "The world don't stop rotating for nobody. We've still got another game to play.

"I wanted us to come out with a victory. I wanted to see my teammates happy with Big Ten rings on their finger.

"It didn't happen but we've got to worry about getting this Orange Bowl now."

Any concern the players won't be ready to face Miami?

"No doubt," Tindal said. "We've got a bunch of dogs on this team. When you've got a lot of grit, it ain't nothing to bounce back."

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UW can become the first team in program history to win 13 games.

The Badgers are 2-0 in bowl games under Chryst, whose record at UW is 33-7.

And there is the matter of seeing the seniors win their final game, which has happened in each of the last three seasons.

"They deserve to go out with a win," redshirt junior offensive lineman Michael Deiter said. "The things they've done for this program and this football team, they deserve to go out and win a bowl game and go out the right way, and that's on us as underclassmen to go out and make that happen.

"It's really our focus coming up these next few weeks."

Digesting the loss to Ohio State wasn't fun, particularly for members of a defensive unit that surrendered plays of 84, 57 and 77 yards in the first half.

"It sucks and it stung for a while," redshirt junior linebacker Ryan Connelly said. "But you try to get over it as best you can and move on to the next one. That is the only thing you can do.

"At the end of the day, it is exciting just to play another game. Not many teams get that opportunity. We are all here to play football so it is another fun opportunity for us."

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Freshman tailback Jonathan Taylor, limited to a season-low 41 yards on 15 carries by Ohio State, gets one more chance to set the FBS single-season rushing record for freshmen. Taylor enters the Orange Bowl with 1,847 yards. He needs 79 to surpass the mark of 1,925, set in 2004 by Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson.

Taylor, who finished sixth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, was asked about the No. 1 goal for the bowl game.

Not surprisingly, he didn't mention Peterson's record.

"You definitely want to finish out strong for those seniors," Taylor said. "They have put a lot of time into this program and you want to see them go out with a win."

This article is written by Jeff Potrykus from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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