A year that was already in the books as a disappointment turned into an absolute disaster for Wisconsin. Early Saturday evening in Orlando was anything but magical for the Badgers, as they were blown out in the second half by Florida State in a 42-13 shellacking.
The game didn't play out like a mismatch, as UW was able to run the ball effectively throughout the first half. Indeed, the Badgers pounded out 201 yards on the ground, including 140 by P.J. Hill. But turnovers were one part of their undoing. They lost three fumbles, including one that was run back 75 yards for a touchdown for FSU's first score. Another one would be run back in the second half.
Special teams were another area the Seminoles dominated. Three times in the first quarter, they pinned Wisconsin inside the 5, essentially reducing the Badger offense to nothing more then a battle for field position for one-fourth of the game.
And finally Florida State's own efficiency cannot be overlooked. Quarterback Christian Ponder came into the game as mistake-prone and there was reason to think that if the game swung on turnovers, it would be the 'Noles that were committing them. But they took care of the ball and Ponder was an efficient 18/31 for 199 yards and no picks. Bobby Bowden's team didn't make mistakes, capitalized on a few of their own and scored touchdowns rather then settle for field goals. That's the way to take a box score that looks otherwise fairly comparable and turn it into a rout.