Capital One Bowl Report - Tuesday - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Capital One Bowl Report - Tuesday

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Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen
South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier

Orlando, FL (WQOW) -- The Wisconsin football team hopes the first day of the new year brings with it the team's final win of the season.

The Badgers and Gamecocks have been in Capital One Bowl preparation mode for weeks. On Tuesday's press conference, the sense was that both head coaches are more than ready to get to the game.

Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen says the Badgers will be ready for Wednesday's game.

"They're excited about the opportunity to compete one more time together. But is this different than the rest of the season or any other games that we've played? No, I wouldn't say that.  But it's nice to see that they've carried themselves in the same business-like manner the other 12 games that they've played to this point because I felt like every time we came out of the tunnel, they were well prepared. Have we won them all? No. But we've played some pretty good teams and fared pretty well."

There was some injury news to come out of Tuesday's press conference. South Carolina's starting fullback Connor McLaurin injured an ankle at practice on Monday. With backup Jordan Diaz already injured, it's next man up time for the Gamecocks.

"Garrison Gist, a walk-on kid, is now the starting fullback. He's our man right now," says South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier. "We're trying to straighten him out this morning. We were watching the tape of yesterday's practice and he was going the wrong way a couple times. But I think he played about three plays against Coastal [Carolina], and that's about all he's played all year.  But he'll be the starter tomorrow."

When Gary Andersen was at Utah State, he had a very good dual-threat quarterback in Chuckie Keaton. Andersen will look to recruit similar athletic quarterback to Wisconsin. Tomorrow, he will face a very good one in South Carolina's Connor Shaw.

"If you just look at Connor and watch him play football, it comes to my mind, coach's kid, which he is, he's competitive. He can hurt you with his arm, his legs and his mind," says Andersen. "He has a lot of miles on him, as far as starts and he's been very productive. He's played in big-time moments and handles himself well.  And I would say this:  When you mix Coach Spurrier and Shaw together in that offense, it's a pretty vicious weapon."

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier says the Gamecocks will rely on both Shaw's arm and legs to get by the Badgers.

"Hopefully Connor's running ability will be important tomorrow.  He is a very good runner.  He's a very good passer, also. We try to tell him to throw first a lot and then take off running.  And, lately, he's done very well at that," says Spurrier.
 
South Carolina may have the top individual talent on the field in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney. But Spurrier says he's impressed with how well Wisconsin plays team defense.
 
"They make you earn just about everything you get," says Spurrier. "They really are a tough physical team, well coached and they play real hard.  You know, there's no one or two guys taking a play off.  That's why they win so much. They do all the little things right."
 
Often in bowl games, motivation seems to be lacking for a few teams. Based on what we've heard the past few days, that won't be an issue on Wednesday.  
 
"Motivation for me and for the team hopefully was to embrace the moment that you're in. Every kid on the football team a life is going to change, some drastically. Some never play this game again. But none of us will be together again. And if you can't get motivated to play for three hours and change in this setting, I don't believe you're a true competitor," says Andersen.

WQOW 18 is your home for Capital One Bowl coverage. Keep it on WQOW 18 for the game, at noon, New Year's Day. Bob Bradovich will have post-game reaction from Orlando on Wednesday's 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts. We also have exclusive content from Orlando, including pictures and stories, on our website. Just click on the 'Capital One Bowl' banner to view it all.

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