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College Football Season
Rose Bowl

Oregon Oregon (12-2) 45
Ohio State Wisconsin (11-3) 38

Bowl Index

Game Recap

by CFP Staff
January 2, 2012

Oregon defeated Wisconsin 45-38 to become Rose Bowl champs for the first time since the 1916 season. Russell Wilson drove Wisconsin from his 15 to the Ducks' 25 in 16 seconds, but the final 2 seconds ran off as Wilson took the snap and spiked the ball to try and kill the clock.

Known as the The Granddaddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO kicked off a myriad of college football legacies in 1902. Since then, the game has showcased 17 Heisman Trophy Winners, produced 29 national champions, featured 193 consensus All-Americans and honored 101 college football legends by inducting them into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.

This one lived to the tradition.

The game was tied at 7-7, 114-14, 21-21 and 28-28 before Oregon took its first lead on De'Anthony Thomas' 64-yard run on the third play of the second half. It was one of only two carries that De'Anthony had all night and both went for long touchdowns. His 91-yard run near the end of the 1st quarter tied the game at 14-all and was one of three Oregon scoring plays that went for 54 yards or longer. Kenjon Barner had a 54-yard touchdown hookup with QB Darron Thomas to make it 21-all with 10:52 to go in the 2nd quarter.

After the Ducks took their 35-28 lead, the Badgers scored the next 10 points on a 38-yard Philip Welch field goal and an 18-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Nick Toon to make it 38-35, Wisconsin, after three quarters.

Oregon re-took the lead at 42-38 with 14:35 left in the 4th when Thomas and Lavasier Tuinei teamed up on an 11-yard scoring play after LB Kiko Alonso intercepted Wilson at the Wisconsin 39-yard line. Alonso's pick came just four plays after Thomas had been intercepted deep in Wisconsin territory.

Following an Alejandro Maldonado 30-yard field goal to give the Ducks a 45-38 lead, the Badgers had a great opportunity to tie the game. Jared Abbrederis caught a pass over the middle running from left to right but as he neared the sideline he opted to stay in-bounds to fight for extra yards and fumbled the ball. Oregon ate nearly four minutes off the clock before Wisconsin finally got it back to start its last drive with just 18 seconds to operate.

Wisconsin RB Montee Ball had 164 yards on 32 carries and had 1 TD to tie Barry Sanders’ FBS record for touchdowns in a season. However, bowl games didn't count in Sanders' era so his 5 TD's in the Holiday Bowl aren't included in his mark. Sanders actually ended the 1988 season with 42 rushing TD's and 2 receiving TD's for a total of 44 in 12 total games. Ball's season was, no doubt, spectacular, but his final season numbers of 33 rushing TD's and 6 receiving scores came in 14 games and still fall 5 short of the inimitable Sanders' true total.

It was the second consecutive Rose Bowl loss for Wisconsin which fell a 2-point conversion short of a rally in a 21-19 loss to TCU last year. The Badgers completed their season an 11-3 record that included a 42-39 victory over Michigan State in the first-ever Big Ten Football Championship Game. Wisconsin was co-champion of the Big Ten last year. They fell to 11-12 in bowl games.

Oregon closed out the season at 12-2 with its third straight outright PAC-10/PAC-12 title. The Ducks defeated the UCLA Bruins 49-31 in the first-ever Pac-12 Football Conference Championship Game.

It was the first meeting between the teams since 2001 and just their fifth meeting of all time. Wisconsin leads the series 3-2, but Oregon has won the last two.

51.6% of voters picked Wisconsin to win and the Congrove Computer Rankings at forecasted a 1.73-point Badger victory.


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