It’s been almost a century since the Ducks had the chance to enjoy smelling the roses….
Seven consecutive losses in the Rose Bowl, controversial helmets (thanks to Uncle Phil), a beautiful day with temperatures in the 80’s, and a crowd of 91,000 was all the ammo the Ducks (12-2; 8-1 Pac 12) needed to roll over the Wisconsin Badgers 45-38 in one of the most exciting Rose Bowl matchups in history. This game broke the Rose Bowl record for most points scored in a game, in a half (28-28), and in the first quarter (14-14). From the very first snap of the game, both teams knew they had to capitalize on every possession.
The No. 5 Ducks amassed 621 total yards of offense to Wisconsin’s 508, while both teams combined for 5 rushing TD’s and 5 passing TD’s on the night. This was not an Alabama – LSU battle of the field goals; it was one of those games when you actually don’t want take your eyes off the screen to grab a drink because you might miss something spectacular. I hope those of you who did decide to grab some chips and salsa in the final seconds of the first quarter were able to watch a reply of what you missed. Freshman standout De’Anthony Thomas ended the quarter breaking another Rose Bowl record by bursting through the Wisconsin line and showing off his athleticism with a 91-yard run (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na3HHTIPz38) to tie the game 14 all heading into the second quarter.
The Badgers controlled the lead for most of the game, pulling ahead of the Ducks 7-0, 14-7, 21-14 and 28-21. With 35 seconds left in the first half, QB Darron Thomas connected with Lavasier Tuinei for 3 yards and Maldonado kicked the ball between the uprights, heading into the half 28-28.
Oregon took over the lead for the first time when De’Anthony Thomas broke loose again on a 64-yard TD run early in third to put the Ducks up 35-28. Wisconsin answered back with a 29-yard FG to put them within four. The Ducks couldn’t convert on downs, but the Badgers could on 3rd and 8; four plays later QB Russell Wilson connected with Senior WR Nick Toon for 18 to put Wisconsin up by 3.Oregon gained the lead again when Thomas connected once again with WR Tuinei for 11 yards to put the Ducks up 41-38. Maldonado added 3 more on a 30-yard attempt to secure the first Rose Bowl when in 94 years.
No more than 7 points separated these two teams in all four quarters of play. The Ducks and the No. 10 Badgers (11-3; 6-2 Big Ten) combined to complete 37 of the 50 passes they attempted for 572 yards in the air. On the ground, they averaged 6.5 yards per carry for a combined total 557 yards on 86 rushes. Oregon racked up 344 yards rushing, led by junior back LaMichael James (159 yards) and De’Anthony Thomas (155 yards).
Senior Lavasier Tuiei was named the offensive player of the game, and Oregon LB Kiko Alonso was chosen as the defensive player of the game finishing the day with an interception and 1.5 sacks.
..and how about that combat gear?
Be sure and stay tuned! I will be providing you with reports on new recruits for the northwest teams and hot topics focusing on NCAA college football over the coming months. After all - the first preseason Pac 12 game is only 228 days away!