By: Marvin Chambers:| 4.0 Sports Media

Arlington, Texas- The Goodyear Cotton Bowl celebrated its 81st anniversary on Monday, January 2, 2017. It marked the third season that the Goodyear Bowl Classic has been a member of the College Football Playoff.

The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic was selected as one of six bowl games to comprise the College Football Playoff system in April of 2012.

This is the fifth meeting between the Broncos and the Badgers with Wisconsin having a 3-1 advantage. The first time the two played was 1963 when the Badgers won 41-0 over the Broncos. Western Michigan returned the favor in 1988, a 24-14 victory that started the WMU’s championship season.

The No.15 ranked Broncos headed to Arlington with an unblemished record of 13-0 for the first time in school history after winning the MAC title for the first time since 1988. WMU are the first undefeated team to play in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic since 11-0 Texas in 1984. The Broncos lead the country in turnover margin at +19, and wasn’t to shabby on the offensive side of the ball establishing a school record with 566 points scored this past season.

The Badgers finished its season with a 10-3 record and a 7-2 conference mark. Wisconsin won the Big Ten Division title and advanced to the league championship game for the fourth time in six years. This physical Badgers team has compiled a 20-6 record and is looking to claim their consecutive bowl victory.

On game day the Badgers had a little too much of running back Corey Clement running down hill behind that massive offensive line picking up chunks of yardage at a time. The undersize WMU team fought to the final whistle but came up a little short 24-16 in front of a noisy crowd of 59, 615 in AT & T Stadium.

Wisconsin got the party started it took them 11 plays, 75 yards, 6:13 of the clock on

their opening possession resulting in Clement hitting pay dirt from 2 yards out for a

quick 7-0 lead.

After WMU quarterback Zach Terrell completed a 22 yards pass to Corey Davis from the 15yard line, the Broncos had to punt the ball three downs later to the Badgers.

It was business as usual when Wisconsin received the ball on its 12-yard line. The Badgers caught WMU by surprise with its up-tempo offense and their personnel groupings. The Badgers

hit the Broncos with a deadly running back combination of Cory Clement and slasher Dare Ogunbowale sprinkled with wide receiver Quintez Cephus.

Wisconsin put together another spectacular drive that took 7 plays, 88 yards and chewed up 3:52 off the clock for a 1-yard touchdown for Ogunbowale to put the Badgers up 14-0 late in the first quarter.

On the ensuing drive the Broncosoffense settled down and unleashed a secret weapon

of their own with running back Jamauri Bogan ripping up yards in between the tackles along with quarterback Zach Terrell completing intermediate passes to wide receiver Corey Davis. WMU put together an impressive drive of 16 plays, 65 yards that eclipsed

8:45 off the clock that Zack Terrell called his own play on a quarterback sneak from the 2 yard to score. The touchdown cut the deficit to 14-7 and gave the Broncos life.

With the three points from the Badgers’ converted field goal it was Andrew Endicott 30 yard field goal that gave Wisconsin a 17-7 lead with 0:18 seconds left in the first half, teams have now combined for more than 3,000 (3001 with the field goal) in the bowl’s history. In the 81 Classics, Cotton Bowl teams have combined for 3,017 points.

Badgers’ quarterbacks Bart Houston (11-12) and Alex Hornibrook (2 of 2) combined to complete 13 of 14 passes for a .929 completion percentage for 157 yards. That percentage ties most in bowl history. The current mark was set by Texas (.929) vs. Missouri in the 1946 Classic (13-14 for 246 yards).

Wisconsin’s Houston was 11 of 12 for 159 yards and a completion percentage of .917 which ties Texas’ Bobby Layne’s completion percentage vs. Missouri in the 1946 classic (11-12, 158 yards, 2 touchdowns) proved to be a little too much for the Broncos’ defense.

Western Michigan’s two 16-play scoring drives that resulted in touchdowns during the second quarter and fourth quarter are tied for the second most plays for a drive that resulted in a touchdown for a college football game at AT & T Stadium.

“I think tonight they played their style of football better than we played our style of football. You got to give them all the credit in the world. They’re well coached. Coach Paul Chryst does a tremendous job. Coach Joe Rudolph on offense, Coach Justin Wilcox on defense. They’re an incredible football team. Cotton Bowl champs.” Said WMU Coach P.J. Fleck.