Wisconsin falls in Rose Bowl for 2nd straight year

first_imgMarcus Cromartie (center) along with Marquis Mason (left) and Alec Lerner (right) feel the sting of their second consecutive Rose Bowl loss. Cromartie had 47 tackles this season after stepping in to a starting role after Devin Smith suffered a season-ending injury in week two.[/media-credit]PASADENA, Calif. – The scoreboard flashed a Rose Bowl record of 83 points, and more than half a mile’s worth of yards were covered. But once the dust settled in the fourth quarter of the wild west shootout between Oregon and Wisconsin, there sat a lifeless football along the sideline.And a Duck landed on it.The No. 10 Badgers (11-3) dropped their second consecutive Rose Bowl Game, 45-38, to the No. 5 Ducks (12-2) on Jan. 2 amid a vibrant display of offensive skill.Driving with nearly four minutes remaining in regulation, University of Wisconsin wide receiver Jared Abbrederis fumbled just before being run out of bounds after hauling in a 29-yard pass that would have situated the Badgers inside the Ducks’ 30-yard line.The ball slipped from his grasp and came to rest near the sideline, where Oregon linebacker Michael Clay pounced on it.Wisconsin’s defense ultimately managed to give its offense the ball back with 16 seconds left, but with no timeouts the Badgers ran out of time with 25 yards still to go for the tying score.“I’m kind of tired of tears of sadness, I want to come out here and experience tears of joy at some point,” UW head coach Bret Bielema said. “I wouldn’t trade any place in the world for that locker room that I have right now, the way that they continue to persevere. Obviously, it’s not an outcome that we’re happy with, it’s something that will carry with us for the rest of our lives [and] the entire coaching career for me.”What might occupy Bielema’s mind in the aftermath of the game is an episode in the third quarter that resulted in the team’s second timeout being utilized not but five minutes into the second half.Down 35-31 after a 29-yard field goal from Philip Welch, Wisconsin kicked off to Oregon’s De’Anthony Thomas, who kneeled the ball in the endzone with his foot on the goal line.Bielema recognized Thomas potentially could have erred to the extent that his knee would be ruled as a downed ball on the 1-yard line and subsequently a timeout was taken.Postgame, Bielema said he asked the referee if the play was reviewable. But because the official could not answer in time, Wisconsin was charged a timeout rather than a challenge.“It looked like the ball was out over the line and I was trying toask the official on my sideline if I could challenge,” Bielema said.“Couldn’t get the answer, so they called a timeout and actually cameback to me and said because they couldn’t give me the information in anadequate amount of time they weren’t going to use that as a challenge,they were going to use it as a timeout.”In the end, the series of events resulted in Wisconsin getting the ball back with seconds left in the fourth quarter and no timeouts. On the Ducks’ 25-yard line, the Badgers could not spike the ball before the clock struck zero.Away from the sidelines, however, was a back-and-forth offensive circus in which only once did a team score two consecutive touchdowns. The affair featured three lead changes in the second half and 1,129 yards of combined offense in the game.Badger quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 296 yards and two touchdowns while his counterpart, Darron Thomas, threw for 268 yards and three scores for the Ducks.UW running back Montee Ball ran for 169 yards and a touchdown, tying Barry Sanders’ single-season NCAA record of 39 in one season. UO back LaMichael James put up 161 yards and two touchdowns himself, while De’Anthony Thomas crossed the goal line on both of his two carries and ran for 155 yards.Wideouts Nick Toon and Abbrederis both eclipsed 100 receiving yards and each scored for Wisconsin, while Oregon’s Lavasier Tuinei caught eight passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns.Neither defense could stop the other’s offense, but in the end it was Oregon who finished with more points and yards despite having for the ball for 11 fewer minutes.“There were plays where we stopped them, we got off the field and there were plays where we [had] blown coverage and blown assignments,” linebacker Mike Taylor said, who forced a fumble that resulted in a touchdown. “They make you pay for it; they’ve got fast guys and when you do that a lot of the time they’re just going to score.”Wisconsin and Oregon knotted up at 28-28 at the half after sledgehammering each other’s defenses for two quarters. Scores included a 38-yard pass from Wilson to Abbrederis to kick off the day and a 33-yard fumble recovery by defensive end Louis Nzegwu in the second quarter.Oregon countered with 91 and 54-yard strikes of their own in the highest scoring half of any previous Rose Bowl.While yards continued to pile up in the second half, points eventually slowed somewhat. Wisconsin outscored Oregon in the second quarter but was shut out, 10-0, in the fourth.Despite winning the third-down conversion battle, Wisconsin’s offense was slowed and stopped in important moments in the second half. The Badgers committed both of their turnovers in the period, and after gaining 123 yards in the first half, Ball was held to just 47 in the second.“They started to come down pretty fast, their safeties – as soon as I got the ball, going through the hole, they were right there in front of me, within three yards,” Ball said. “…Other than that, we fell out of rhythm a couple times.”last_img

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