Capital One Bowl
1:00 PM ET, January 2, 2006
Florida Citrus Bowl, ORLANDO, FL
1:00 PM ET, January 2, 2006
Florida Citrus Bowl, ORLANDO, FL
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- With a masterful offensive performance and a surprisingly stingy defense, the Wisconsin Badgers gave coach Barry Alvarez a proper send-off.
Brian Calhoun rushed for 213 yards, John Stocco passed for 301 and Brandon Williams had 173 yards receiving, lifting the No. 21 Badgers to a 24-10 victory over No. 7 Auburn in the Capital One Bowl on Monday.
It was the perfect tribute to a coach who restored pride to a down-and-out program.
"We wanted to be on," said Stocco, who threw two touchdown passes. "We just wanted to thank him for everything he's done, not just this year but since he's been here.
"This is coach's day. It just feels great to send him out of here like this," he said.
The 10½-point underdog Badgers (10-3) were in control throughout against the Tigers (9-3), who flopped after ending the regular season with wins over Georgia and Alabama.
Alvarez never let his coaching finale be about himself, but the Badgers' near-flawless performance offered a fine opportunity for a little reflection.
"The main thing I'm most proud of is that we brought pride back to our fans for our football program," Alvarez said.
It was a fitting farewell for Alvarez, who led Wisconsin to eight bowl wins in 16 seasons and will now focus on his duties as athletic director. The Badgers were 1-5 all-time in the postseason before his arrival and sent him off with his fourth 10-win season.
Wisconsin amassed 311 yards and a 17-0 lead in the first half, leaving little doubt that Alvarez would get to celebrate another big win.
The architect of numerous firsts for Wisconsin, Alvarez became the first Badgers coach to win his finale since Milt Bruhn in 1966. Defensive coordinator Bret Bielema takes over as coach.
Alvarez declined to rate the victory.
"I hate to rank wins because I love them all," he said. "Nobody enjoys winning more than me."
Calhoun, a junior pondering a leap to the NFL, rushed 30 times and scored on a 33-yard run in the fourth quarter. Then he got the highest praise from a coach who has coached star tailbacks like Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne.
"We've had MVPs of three Rose Bowls and they're all running backs," Alvarez said. "When we win big games, our running backs play well. This one happens to be the most talented one that we've had."
Williams also had four carries for 35 yards as the Badgers dismantled a defense that came in allowing only 294 yards per game.
The Tigers tried to edge back into the game in the second half, but the Southeastern Conference's top offense never got going.
"We didn't have the answer," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We never got anything going. Offensively, we couldn't make a first down. That's not like us."
John Vaughn capped Auburn's first drive of the second half with a 19-yard field goal. Then Taylor Mehlaff missed his second long field goal, a 41-yarder.
Auburn then put together a 15-play drive that included two fourth-down conversions. Brandon Cox hit Ben Obomanu for a 13-yard gain on fourth-and-10 from the 19.
The Tigers were pushed back 3 yards on their next three plays, but Cox hit a leaping Courtney Taylor in the end zone on fourth down two plays into the final quarter. It was Taylor's first touchdown catch of the season, making it 17-10.
The Badgers quickly got the momentum back as Calhoun sprinted for a touchdown. He also had a 60-yarder, a 27-yarder and a 17-yarder to set up Wisconsin's first three scores.
Calhoun became just the second player in Division I history to have 1,500 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in the same season. Pacific's Ryan Benjamin did it in 1991.
Calhoun said after the game he hasn't made up his mind on whether he will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft. He turned in the second-best rushing effort in Capital One history, behind Fred Taylor's 234 in 1998 for Florida.
The Tigers were held scoreless in the first half for the first time this season and finished with only 236 yards. Wisconsin gained 548.
"That first half was ridiculous," Taylor said. "There's no way you can beat a good football team playing the way we did in the first half."
The Badgers didn't resemble a defense that came in giving up 432.5 yards per game, a nice transition for their next coach, too.
"It's just great to be part of it," Bielema said. "I think it's a great testament to the leadership [Alvarez] provides. From Day 1, it's been about this game."
Under constant pressure, Cox was 15-of-33 for 137 yards with an interception on the second play of the game. Kenny Irons, the SEC's leading rusher, managed only 88 yards on 22 carries and fumbled on the Tigers' second series.
Auburn had won three consecutive bowl games and finished in a tie for the best four-year run in the program's history with 39 wins.
"We were ready to play," Cox said. "Sometimes it just happens where you play hard but you can't get those plays to come. It's not because you're not trying, it just happens."
It was over when... Wisconsin scored the first touchdown of the game. The Badgers never looked back after taking a 17-0 lead at halftime.
Gameball goes to... Barry Alvarez. Brian Calhoun, John Stocco and Brandon Williams had huge games, but who else could we give this to?
Stat of the game... 548: The Badgers totaled 548 yards of offense, including 311 in the first half.
11.5% of Bowl Pick'em players picked Wisconsin to win the game.
|3rd Down Conversions||7-15||4-14|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||2-2|
|TD||7:55||BRANDON WILLIAMS 30 YD PASS FROM JOHN STOCCO (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 75 yards.
|FG||0:21||TAYLOR MEHLHAFF 19 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 71 yards.
|TD||7:19||OWEN DANIELS 13 YD PASS FROM JOHN STOCCO (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 86 yards.
|FG||11:54||JOHN VAUGHN 19 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 16 yards.
|TD||14:49||COURTNEY TAYLOR 9 YD PASS FROM BRANDON COX (JOHN VAUGHN KICK)|
Drive info: 14 plays, 56 yards.
|TD||13:22||BRIAN CALHOUN 33 YD RUN (TAYLOR MEHLHAFF KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 65 yards.