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Wisconsin Ends Western Michigan’s Unbeaten Season in Cotton Bowl

81st Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic - Western Michigan v Wisconsin
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

No. 15 Western Michigan’s Cinderella year and dreams of an undefeated season came to an end with a 24-16 loss to No. 8 Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl Classic.

Running behind an offensive line that outweighed Western Michigan’s front four by almost thirty pounds a man, Wisconsin scored rushing touchdowns on its first two drives to set the tone for the game. The two teams traded scores from that point on, but the Broncos never got closer than eight points as the Badger defense held Western Michigan to just 280 total yards, almost 220 yards under its season offensive average.

Wisconsin’s offensive numbers in the game might not be eye-popping (362 yards of total offense), but the Badgers were remarkably efficient. Two Wisconsin quarterbacks combined to go 13-of-14 for 178 yards and a touchdown while running back Corey Clement added 71 yards and a score on the ground. The Badgers were 7-of-11 on third-down conversions and did not turn the ball over.

Western Michigan’s Zach Terrell ran for one score and found receiver Corey Davis, the FBS career receiving yardage record holder, for a touchdown to pull within eight points with 3:27 to play. But that was as close as they would get, as Wisconsin converted a big third-and eight play on the ensuing possession and was able to run out the clock from there.

The victory gives Wisconsin its fourth 11-win season in the last seven years. The Broncos, meanwhile, leave the Cotton Bowl with a loss but have no reason to hang their heads after recording the school’s most-ever wins just four years after a 1-11 season.

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