The 99th Rose Bowl Game by Vizio: Stanford Cardinals vs. Wisconsin Badgers
By G. George, IVN Sports Writer
Pasadena, CA– This was a contest that represented the Pac 12 Champions, #6 Stanford Cardinals (11 – 2), versus the Big 10 Champions, University of Wisconsin Badgers (8-5). As for the coaching battle, it was David Shaw (Cards) versus the interim head coach and 2010 College Football Hall of Famer, Barry Alvarez (Badgers). The running backs dual would be between Stefan Taylor (Cardinals), against Montee Ball (Badgers).
The Cardinals received the starting kickoff as Kevin Hogan (QB), led the team in 7 plays for 80 yards to the end zone for a 7 – 0 lead. With the momentum from the touchdown, the Cardinals’ defense held the Badgers to just five plays. On the next possession by the Cardinals, they scored on a 3 yard run by Stefan Taylor (5 plays, 79 yards, 2:24). The Cardinals were in full control of the game as interim head coach Barry Alvarez would have to get the Badgers fired up to avoid a third straight Rose Bowl loss. Although doing his coaching career (1990 – 2006), he won three Rose Bowl titles. The question was; could he do it after coming out of retirement? Now with his team down early, he had to prove that he still had the ability to coach a team to a championship. He became the interim head coach after Bret Bielema took the head coaching job at the University of Arkansas. Therefore, Coach Barry Alvarez took off his Athletic Director’s hat, and prepared his team for battle. His offensive strategy would consist of the run game that was lead by the “Doak Walker Award” winner and repeat first-team consensus All-American, Montee Ball.
The first quarter ended with the Cardinals leading, 14 – 0. The Badgers resumed their drive on the 8 yard line as the ball was shifted to the other end of the field. Ball scored a touchdown, but it was nullified due to a holding penalty. The Badgers didn’t panic, as they had to drive 18 yards instead of 8 yards to score. Well, they scored another apparent touchdown with a pass from Curt Phillips (QB) to Jacob Pedersen, but after a review it was a yard short. The Badgers rushed James White on fourth and one, but was stopped by Ben Gardner (DE, 6-4, 275). The Cardinals took over on their 1 yard line, but the Badgers’ defense holds as the Cardinals are forced to punt on that possession. Starting on the Cardinals 49 yard line, coach Alvarez makes a QB change with Joel Stave for Phillips. Stave had a very good touchdown attempt, but Jared Abbrederis dropped it. When Phillips returns, he completes a 22 yard pass to Abbrederis. Finally; the Badgers score on an 11 yard run by Ball. The Badgers now trailed 7 – 14, (5 plays, 49 yards, 2:01).
The Cardinals offense managed to score a 47 yard field goal by Jordan Williamson, thus increasing their lead, 17 – 7. On the Badgers’ next possession they were stopped and forced to punt. The defense of the Badgers stopped the Cardinals on their following possession and had 2:15 seconds to score before the half. The Badgers were successful as Phillips completed a pass to Jordan Fredrick for a touchdown. The Badgers closed out the half only trailing, 14 – 17 as they would harness the momentum going into the locker room for the second half. However, in the third quarter, it turned into a defensive battle that didn’t allows any scoring.
Now for the final quarter of the 99th Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio, which team would claim the crown? The defensive battle continued, until the Cardinals finally scored on a 22 yard field goal by Williamson (12 plays, 66 yards, 6:22). The Cardinals had a 20 -14 point lead with 4:23 seconds remaining. It was now crunch-time for the Badgers to score a touchdown as they started on their 25 yard line. They were on the move as they got the ball to their 46 yard line in 5 plays. Unfortunately, on the next play a pass attempt by Phillips was intercepted by Usua Amanam. “It was a max drop, so basically just playing the quarterback,” said Usua. “I happened to see him go to the middle of the field, and I just pedaled to the right, and I think a D line man got his hand on the ball, and fortunately the ball just fell in my hands. So I don’t think one play wins any game. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time, and we were able to kind of seal the game with that one.” With that play he became the “MVP – Defensive Player of the Game”.
The Cardinals took over with 2:03 minutes remaining on their 42 yard line. The Cardinals closed out the game triumphantly as Stefan Taylor sealed the deal by getting a first down to the Badgers’ 44 yard line. “And we knew that at the end of the game, we needed to get that first down to win the game,” said Taylor. “So we got that and then won the championship.” Taylor had a total of 105 yards (88 rushing, 17 passing), and was named the “MVP – Offensive Player of the Game”.
Coach Shaw captured the Rose Bowl Game Championship for the Stanford Cardinals. “Well, not to be sarcastic, but we scored the most points, said Shaw when asked why he won. “For us, it’s not the why, it’s the how. We played extremely hard. We didn’t always play smart… Defensively, we missed a couple of tackles. But for us, it’s not about playing perfect. It’s about finishing strong, and that’s what our guys did.”
Interim coach Barry Alvarez did a great job, but got the same results for the third consecutive year for UW. His Rose Bowl record is now, 3-1. “Well, we were defeated by a very good Stanford football team,” said Alvarez. “They didn’t surprise me how they played, as you saw that on films, they’ve been very consistent all year. They’re a physical team. They’re well coached, and they deserve to win today. I couldn’t be more proud of a group of young men than my team.”
As for Montee Ball, he scored 1 touchdown, as he rushed for 100 yards on 24 carries and 1 catch for 7 yards. “I mean, it stings, said Ball in regards to comparing the previous year’s games. “It stings just as much because we fell short, extremely short when we had the opportunity to win.”
The final score: Stanford 20, Wisconsin 14. In attendance for the game were 93,359 fans.