Game Recap: Quacked and Attacked

After experiencing back-to-back gut punches during the season, it was only fitting that No.9 Wisconsin ended its season with back-to-back one-score defeats in the Rose Bowl. The Badgers allowed over 600 yards of total offense and fell seven points short, falling 45-38 to No.6 Oregon in the 98th Rose Bowl.

PASADENA, Calif. - All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Wisconsin's defense back together again.

After being solid through the final five games of the 2011 season, limiting defenses to only 17 combined points in the second half, No.9 Wisconsin, even with 30 days to prepare, got run over by No.6 Oregon and its high-octane offense, allowing 621 total yards in a 45-38 shootout in the 98th Rose Bowl Monday.

Wisconsin (11-3) allowed LaMichael James 159 yards and one touchdown, DeAnthony Thomas to rush for 155 yards and two touchdowns (including a 91-yard sprint at the end of the first quarter) and quarterback Darron Thomas to throw for 268 yards and three touchdowns in what was a backyard shootout.

Wisconsin's offense seemed to match the Ducks' blow for blow, hinting that this game could go into overtime with UW down seven, with the ball and with five minutes to go. Those thoughts got even bigger after Jared Abbrederis reeled in a 29-yard completion, but the problem was he got the ball punched out at the Oregon 27 and the Ducks recovered.

With only one timeout left, after burning two in the third quarter, the Ducks finally slowed down, milked the clock down to under 30 seconds and left UW at its mercy. With the Badgers needing to go 80-plus yards in less than 20 seconds, the Badgers got to the Oregon 25-yard line, but the final two seconds ran out before UW could spike the football, ending the game.

Junior running back Montee Ball rushed for 164 yards and a touchdown, tying Barry Sanders' NCAA record for 39 touchdowns scored in one season, but rushed for just 86 yards after the first quarter. Senior quarterback Russell Wilson capped his UW career with three total touchdowns and 296 passing yards, but threw a costly interception that left UW's defense on a short field.

The 83 points were the most ever scored in a Rose Bowl. Problem was that Wisconsin needed eight more to wipe away last year's disappointment.

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Audio: Inside the Locker Room

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Rose Bowl Notebook

No.6 Oregon 45, No.10 Wisconsin 38

First Half

First Quarter

7-0 Wisconsin

7 plays, 77 yards, 3:12 TOP, 11:48 left

Jared Abbrederis 38-yard catch from Russell Wilson (Philip Welch kick)

Key Play: On a little double move, Jared Abbrederis out runs his defender to be wide open for a 38-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson. On the play before, Wilson completed a little 7-yard out to Montee Ball to move the chains on third-and-5.


7 plays, 80 yards, 2:07 TOP, 9:41 left

LaMichael James 1-yard run (Alejandro Maldonado kick)

Key Play: Lavasier Tuinei was able to sneak through a gap in the secondary and quarterback Darron Thomas was able to avoid a blitzing Chris Borland, completing a 35-yard pass to get the Ducks to the one-yard line.

14-7 Wisconsin

7 plays, 79 yards, 3:41 TOP, 5:55 left

Russell Wilson 4-yard run(Philip Welch kick)

Key Play: After a false start penalty, Montee Ball quickly negated the slip up. With a stiff arm and a spin move, Ball ripped off a huge 42-yard gain for the Badgers to get over midfield. That was the key play until third-and-6, Wilson scrambled out of the pocket, drew in Ball's defender, floated the pass to Ball, who scampered inside the 5-yard line.


2 plays, 95 yards, :32 TOP, 0:00 left

DeAnthony Thomas 91-yard run (Maldonado kick)

Key Play: On the last play of the first quarter, Thomas made the Badgers pay. Thomas ran right up the gut and simply blazed down the sidelines. Aaron Henry was close for awhile, but simply couldn't catch him.

Second Quarter

21-14 Wisconsin

8 plays, 64 yards, 4:08 TOP, 10:51 left

Montee Ball 3-yard run (Welch kick)

Key Play: On third-and-1 from UW's 45, Badgers faked the dive to Ball and hit Jacob Pedersen on a 17-yard tight end pop pass to the Oregon 38.


1 plays, 54 yards, :08 TOP, 10:36 left

Kenjon Barner 54-yard pass from Darron Thomas (Maldonado kick)

Key Play: Wisconsin got a taste of its own medicine, as the secondary got sucked in by the playaction. It was so well run that Thomas had two wide-open receivers to throw to on the left side of the field.

28-21 Wisconsin

1 plays, 33 yards, :08 TOP, 3:26 left

Louis Nzegwu 33-yard fumble recovery (Welch kick)

Key Play: Coming untouched on a blitz, Mike Taylor got to Darron Thomas a millisecond before Thomas attempted his pass. The result was a forced fumble that Nzegwu picked up and rumbled in for his first collegiate touchdown.


10 plays, 87 yards, 2:51 TOP, :30 left

Lavasier Tuinei 3-yard pass from Darron Thomas (Maldonado kick)

Key Play: It appeared Wisconsin missed an assignment deep in its own territory, as Dezmen Southward never seemed to cover anybody and nobody covered Lavasier Tuinei on a 21-yard pass to the UW 17. Second Half

Third Quarter

35-28 Oregon

3 plays, 78 yards, :43 TOP, 14:11 left

DeAnthony Thomas 64-yard run (Maldonado kick)

Key Play: With Oregon getting the ball to start the half, the Badgers needed to get off the field quickly and allow no points. They got off the field quickly, but only after Thomas jumped outside the tackle and sprinted down the sidelines untouched. UW's defense looks slow and a step behind.

35-31 Oregon

7 plays, 24 yards, 3:10 TOP, 10:50 left

FG Philip Welch 29

Key Play: Needing a quick strike to get back at Oregon, Wisconsin got it on the ensuing kickoff, as Jared Abbrederis cut back through the middle of the field and ran down the right sideline for a 60-yard return to the Oregon 36.

38-35 Wisconsin

9 plays, 62 yards, 4:16 TOP, 4:44 left

Nick Toon 18-yard pass from Russell Wilson (Welch kick)

Key Play: If Wisconsin wins the 98th Rose Bowl, it will be because the Badgers were prolific on third down up to this point. Converting 7-of-10 through its scoring drive, Wilson delivered a dagger when he scrambled 17 yards on third-and-8 to move the chains to the Oregon 31.

38-35 Wisconsin

9 plays, 62 yards, 4:16 TOP, 4:44 left

Nick Toon 18-yard pass from Russell Wilson (Welch kick)

Key Play: Just like they did in the first half, the Ducks had an immediate answer to the Badgers jumping in front. On the first play from scrimmage, Lavasier Tuinei reeled it an amazing 35-yard catch to get to the UW 42.

Fourth Quarter

42-38 Oregon

6 plays, 39 yards, 1:11 TOP, 14:35 left

Lavasier Tuinei 11-yard pass from Darron Thomas (Maldonado kick)

Key Play: UW had an opportunity to limit Oregon to a field goal attempt with the Ducks facing a third-and-9, but Dezmen Southward missed the one-on-one tackle attempt on DeAnthony Thomas, who got the first down soon after. One play later, Oregon was in the end zone, taking advantage of the Wilson interception.

45-38 Oregon

13 plays, 76 yards, 5:54 TOP, 6:50 left

FG Maldonado 30

Key Play: UW kept itself in the game with Louis Nzegwu making a tackle on third-and-2 inside its own 15, forcing the field goal.

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