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Three thorns: Badgers' rally comes up just short in Rose Bowl again

99th Rose Bowl Game
Wisconsin 8 Stanford 20, Wisconsin 14
Rose Bowl Stadium • Pasadena, Calif. • Attendance: 93,359

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
0 14 0 0 14
14 3 0 3 20
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Postgame Analysis
Lucas' Last Word: Long on resilience, short on plays

 Statistical Leaders
 • Rushing: Montee Ball - 24 Car, 100 Yds, 1 TD
 • Passing: Curt Phillips - 10-16-1, 83, 1 TD
 • Receiving: Jared Abbrederis - 3 Rec, 44 Yds
 • Defense: Chris Borland - 9 Tkls
 Scoring Summary
 First Quarter
STAN 11:24  Young 16 TD run (Williamson kick)
STAN 6:35  Taylor 3 TD run (Williamson kick)
 Second Quarter
WIS 9:05  Ball 11 TD run (Russell kick)
STAN 6:19  Williamson 47 FG
WIS 0:19  Fredrick 4 yd TD pass from Phillips
 (Russell kick)
 Fourth Quarter
STAN 4:23  Williamson 22 FG
 Stats at a Glance
 First Downs 17 17
 Total Offensive Yards 301 344
 Rushing Attempts-Yards 45-218 35-187
 Passing 10-17-1 13-20-0
 Passing Yards 83 157
 Penalties-Yards 4-40 6-48
 Turnovers 1 0
 Punts-Avg. 7-44.6 6-45.5
 Punt Returns-Avg. 3-2.3 1-1
 Kick Returns-Avg. 2-14 2-17.5
 3rd-Down Conversions 7-15 3-11
 4th-Down Conversions 0-1 0-0
 Time of Possession 29:52 30:08
 Wisconsin Football Online
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Jan. 1, 2013

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- The way Wisconsin's season played out, you knew this one was going to come down to the wire.

Unforunately for the Badgers, the result was a familiar one for a team making its third-consecutive appearance in the Rose Bowl.

For the third straight season, Wisconsin saw a late drive that could have tied the game fall agonizingly short in The Granddaddy of Them All.

Trailing by six in the game's waning minutes, senior QB Curt Phillips led the Badgers' charge but was intercepted just past midfield. That allowed No. 8 Stanford to run out the clock on a 20-14 win over the Badgers on Tuesday.

"When you fall behind 14-0, I thought it was a microcosm of their whole season," said UW interim head coach Barry Alvarez, who returned to the sideline of a game in which he went 3-0 as the Badgers' boss from 1990 to 2005.

The Badgers weren't supposed to be in Pasadena, so many were quick to tell them. It didn't matter to a team that consistently found a way to respond to an adversity-filled season.

"It's been a bizarre season," Travis Frederick said.

Two of their early losses were by a combined six points.

"It's been a frustrating season," Chris Borland said. "We've been in close games, but close doesn't count."

Wisconsin crushed Nebraska 70-31 to earn a New Year's Day berth. When head coach Bret Bielema left for Arkansas in a surprise move, the seniors contacted Alvarez to lead them back to where he had found great success.

"It brought everybody together and excited everybody," Borland said. "It calmed guys' nerves."

With new coach Gary Andersen looking on, Alvarez relied on his coordinators to handle the game plan.

"He had a chance to watch practice this week," Alvarez said of Andersen. "They had a chance to evaluate the players and have an idea in their minds what they have here, what they have to recruit, the strengths and weaknesses of the team. We have a very good nucleus coming back next year."

And they'll have unfinished business.

The Badgers (8-6) failed to avenge tight losses in their last two trips to Pasadena. Last year, they were beaten 45-38 by Oregon after a final-play review went against them. In 2011, they lost 21-19 to TCU when their final pass to a clearly open receiver got batted down at the line of scrimmage.

This time, they got shut out in the second half, as Stanford's defense found a way to top what was a stingy effort by the Badgers' unit.

"It stings just as much because we fell short, extremely short, when we had the opportunity to win," said Ball, who was the game's leading rusher with 100 yards on 24 carries.

Ball scored his 83rd career touchdown on an 11-yard run in the second quarter, making him the first player in the game's 99-year history to score TDs in three different Rose Bowls and the first to rush for 100 yards three times in "The Granddaddy."

"This is not the way I want to be remembered," he said. "I felt like I did a great job of leading the team through adversity this season and in past seasons did a great job of capitalizing on big plays. But very unfortunate situation for us."

The Badgers allowed touchdowns on Stanford's first two drives of the game, leaving them in a 14-0 hole.

But Wisconsin rallied in the final 9 minutes to close to 17-14 at halftime. After Ball's TD, Curt Phillips hit Jordan Fredrick on a 4-yard TD pass, giving the Badgers momentum heading into the second half.

The teams forced each other to punt seven times while notching just three first downs in the third quarter.

Still, the Badgers had a chance to win on their final possession. Melvin Gordon, Ball and James White took turns running the ball before Phillips hit Kenzel Doe with a 5-yard pass at the Stanford 42-yard line.

"I just felt like maybe we were a team of destiny," Alvarez said. "I just felt like somehow we were going to find a way to score."

On the next play, Phillips was intercepted by Usua Amanam at the Stanford 42.

"It's heartbreaking," Borland said. "Like Coach said earlier, it's kind of been a microcosm of our whole season. We've faced some adversity, fought back, and came up short."

Ball and his fellow seniors tied Wisconsin's class of 2007 as the winningest in school history, with a four-year record of 40-14.

"I'm really looking forward to watching the Badgers next year because they're going to be a great team," Ball said.

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