Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook was the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 Orange Bowl. Like his 2017 counterpart quarterback Malik Rosier of the Miami football team, Hornibrook and his Badgers teammates have had a disappointing 2018 season.
Wisconsin and the Miami football team finished their seasons with identical 7-5 records. A large part of Badgers fall has been their poor execution in the passing game. Wisconsin finished 116th nationally in passing offense. That was seven spots below the much-maligned Miami passing game.
The Hurricanes average 177.3 passing yards per game this season. Miami has a 117.22 passer rating to rank 110th. The Canes’ 51.9 completion percentage is 115th nationally. The Badgers are 72nd nationally completing 59.0 percent of their passes.
Hornibrook is out for the Pinstripe Bowl after dealing with concussions throughout the 2018 season. The game against Miami will be the fourth one that Hornibrook has missed in 2018. He sat out completely against Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue and played only about half the game against Rutgers.
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Hornibrook shredded the Miami football team for 258 yards and four touchdowns on 23 completions in the Orange Bowl last year. That earned him the MVP. Coan is not likely to beat Miami like Hornibrook did last season.
Wisconsin went 2-2 without Hornibrook in 2018. The loss to Northwestern all but officially ended the Badgers hopes of winning their third straight Big Ten West Championship. Wisconsin won three of the first four Big Ten West titles. They won leader division titles in 2011 and 12 before the Big Ten went to geographic divisions.
Jack Coan has taken over with Hornibrook out. Wisconsin has gone 1-2 in the three games that Coan has started. The Badgers needed triple overtime to win at Purdue in the Badgers final road game of 2018 on November 17. Coan has completed 61.0 percent of his passing attempts for 488 with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
That compares to Rosier who has a 53.5 completion percentage with 1,007 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions. Perry has completed 51.6 percent of his passes for 1,089 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Rosier has a big advantage over Coan and Perry averaging 7.0 yards per attempt to Perry’s 5.9 and Coan’s 6.0 YPA. Perry has done a far better job taking care of the ball through the air in 2018 than Coan and Rosier. Perry’s touchdown to interception ratio is 2.6 to one, Coan’s two to one and Rosier’s 1.6 to one.
Miami and Wisconsin both have excellent rushing offenses. The team that wins the Pinstripe Bowl is likely to have to make some key plays through the air. For Wisconsin that will be against the nation’s top pass defense. Coan and Perry or Rosier are going to have to exceed their play during the season to give their teams a chance to win.