Ducks Win Rose Bowl

Pasadena – The Oregon Ducks won the 98th Rose Bowl, 45-38 over the Wisconsin Badgers before 91,245 screaming fans in a game that came down to two seconds on the game clock and a bit of indecision.. It was a game that saw records fall and heroes arise from adversity.

(PHOTO) Oregon Ducks linebacker Kiko Alonso (47) celebrates after intercepting a pass against the Wisconsin Badgers during the second half during the 2012 Rose Bowl. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

"It's awesome," said Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly of his team's win. "It's been 95 years since you can say the Oregon Ducks are Rose Bowl champs. It's the whole organization, it's the fans, it's the players, it is the coaches and this is something special."

After a see-saw battle throughout the game where the most combined points in Rose Bowl history was score (83), Oregon had taken the lead in the fourth quarter 42-38 just moments after the final quarter started when quarterback Darron Thomas hit his third touchdown of the night when he found Tuinei on an 11-yarder for the score. Wisconsin from that point found it tough sledding against a pumped Oregon defense. Following Oregon's go ahead touchdown in the fourth, Wisconsin went three and out and was forced to punt. The Ducks went on their longest drive of the game going 76 yards in 13 plays and culminated by a 30-yard field goal making the score 45-38 but more importantly, the clock showing 6:43 left in the game.

The Duck defense snuffed Montee Ball for a loss of one but Wilson hit Nick Toon for a gain of five to the Badger 29. Wilson hit Toon again for another six yard gain and it looked like Wisconsin might have something going especially after Ball picked up four the Wisconsin 40. Then perhaps the key to four quarter happened when Wilson hit Jared Abbrederis for 29 yards but Oregon's Terrance Mitchell knocked the ball out Abbrederis' hands and Michael Clay recovered the ball just inside the boundary line.

The Duck fans in the stadium erupted.

Oregon had the ball with 4:06 left. The Ducks turned the game over the running back LaMichael James who carried the ball six straight times, right into the teeth of the Badger defense. The drive stalled and Jackson Rice came in and punted the ball to Abbrederis who made a fair catch at the Wisconsin 13 and only 16 seonds left in the game. Wisconsin still had plenty of life though as Wilson hit Abbrederis for 29 moving the ball to the Wisconsin 42. The next play Wilson completed a pass to Toon for 33 yards to the Oregon 25 but only two seconds were left on the clock. The Badgers though chose to try and stop the clock after the clock started again by intentionally grounding the ball. The problem was that the clock expired as the ball hit the ground. After an official review was made, the game ended on the incomplete pass.

Lavaseir Tuinei and Kiko Alonso were named Offensive and Defensive Players of the game respectively. Tuinei came up big with timely receptions and finished the game with eight catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns. Alonso was a major force in the game recording four solo tackles including two tackles for loss with one being a seven-yard sack of Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson in addition to being given credit for a half sack on Wilson.

Alonso overcame a suspension from the team in 2011 and has not spoken to media until tonight.

While Oregon's prolific offense was scoring nearly at will, it was the Duck defenders that won the Rose Bowl Championship by shutting Wisconsin out in the fourth quarter.

While as exciting as it was in the closing moments the real foundation to the fourth quarter Oregon's defense had been making plays all over the field, especially Alonso who picked off Wilson after the Thomas had been given up an interception and seemingly the momentum to the Badgers. Alonso's pick was similar to one he got against Oregon State at the end of the regular season.

"I was loose arming on the sideline looking at him, and I just got a good jump on him," Alonso said of the play in which he stepped in front of the Wisconsin wide receiver."

Offensively Oregon racked up 621 yards of total offense including 345 yards of net rushing. James was the leading Oregon rusher with 159 net yards on 25 carries and had one touchdown. DeAnthony Thomas (DAT) only had two rushes but ended up with 155 yards including a record setting 91-yard touchdown run to end the first quarter. DAT second carry went 64 yards, also for a touchdown.

"Just great blocking from the offensive line," DeAnthony Thomas said crediting the men up front on his long touchdown runs. "That's about it. I just seen open field, and I just tried to take a touchdown. That's about it."

Darron Thomas was 17-for-23 for 268 yards and three touchdowns. He was intercepted once.

Besides Tuinei's eight catches and two touchdowns, Darron Thomas also hit DAT four times for 34 yards and Kenjon Barner twice with one of those passes good for a 54 yard touchdown.

Alejondro Maldanodo hit one field goal from 30 yards out.

Defensively, John Boyett was the leading tackler with 17 (13 solos) including a half sack. Clay had 13 tackles (six solos).

Jackson Rice had three punts averaging 46 yards per punt.

DAT also had total of 314 all-purpose yards.

Notes: Rose Bowl records that were set

  • Longest Rush – 91, DAT
  • Highest Average Per Play, Team -- 9.70 Oregon (64-621)
  • Highest Average Per Rush, Team – 8.63, Oregon (40-345)
  • Most Points Scored, Both Teams First Quarter --28
  • Most Points Scored, Both Teams Half – 56 (first)
  • Most Points Scored, Both Teams, Game – 83
  • Most Points Scored, Losing Team – 38 Wisconsin
  • Most Touchdowns Scored, Both Teams, Game -- 11
  • Longest Rush So Far in the 2011 Bowl Season – 91, DAT
  • Longest Fumble Return – 33, Louis Nzegwu, Wisconsin (TD)

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