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Petal to the metal: Badgers fall short in record-setting Rose Bowl


98th Rose Bowl Game
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Wisconsin 6 Oregon 45, 9 Wisconsin 38
Rose Bowl Stadium • Pasadena, Calif. • Attendance: 91,245
• Final Stats  |  Final Stats Get    Acrobat  Reader  |  Notes  |  Photos   |  Reaction Small Video Graphic
Oregon

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
 Wisconsin
14 14 10 0 38
 Oregon
14 14 7 10 45
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• Press Conferences: Bielema Small Video Graphic  |  Ball & Wilson Small Video Graphic

Postgame Analysis
Lucas' Last Word: Agonizingly close once again

 Statistical Leaders
 • Rushing: Montee Ball - 32 Car, 164 Yds, TD
 • Passing: Russell Wilson - 19-25, 296 Yds, 2 TD, INT
 • Receiving: Nick Toon - 9 Rec, 104 Yds, TD
 • Defense: Mike Taylor - 13 Tkl, Sk, TFL, FF
 Scoring Summary
 First Quarter
WIS 11:48 Abbrederis 38 TD pass from Wilson
(Welch kick)
ORE 9:41 James 1 TD run (Maldonado kick)
WIS 5:55 Wilson 4 TD run (Welch kick)
ORE 0:00 De. Thomas 91 TD run
(Maldonado kick)
 Second Quarter
WIS 10:52 Ball 3 TD run (Welch kick)
ORE 10:36 Barner 54 TD pass from Da. Thomas
(Maldonado kick)
WIS 3:26 Nzegwu 33 fumble return TD
(Welch kick)
ORE 0:30 Tunei 3 TD pass from Da. Thomas (Maldonado kick)
 Third Quarter
ORE 14:11 De. Thomas 64 TD run
(Maldonado kick)
WIS 10:50 Welch 29 FG
WIS 4:44 Toon 18 TD pass from Wilson
(Welch kick)
 Fourth Quarter
ORE 14:35 Tunei 11 TD pass from Da. Thomas (Maldonado kick)
ORE 6:50 Maldonado 30 FG
 Stats at a Glance
WIS ORE
 • First Downs 23 22
 • Total Offensive Yards 508 621
 • Passing Yards 296 276
 • Rushing Yards 212 345
 • Penalties-Yards 3-20 7-56
 • Turnovers 2 2
 • Punts-Avg. 2-44.5 3-46.0
 • Punt Returns-Avg. 2-26.0 1-4.0
 • Kick Returns-Avg. 8-25.1 5-25.0
 • 3rd-Down Conversions 8-13 6-13
 • 4th-Down Conversions 0-1 1-1
 • Time of Possession 35:42 24:18
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Interactive Guide  |  2011 Fact Book Get    Acrobat  Reader
Road to the Rose Bowl

Jan. 2, 2012

PASADENA, Calif. -- Much the way they have all season, the numbers just kept adding up for Wisconsin.

Records fell left and right Monday in the 98th Rose Bowl Game as the Badgers traded blows with Oregon in a shootout for the ages.

Still, the numbers on the scoreboard didn't add up for the No. 9-ranked Badgers and the sea of red that made up the majority of the 91,245 fans in attendance.

In the end, it was time that wasn't on the Badgers' side.

When the clock ran out on Wisconsin's attempt at a rally in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, the 0:00 showing on the scoreboard added up to a 45-38 win for the Ducks (12-2) in the highest-scoring game in Rose Bowl history.

 Fast Facts
• Ball ties NCAA single-season touchdown record at 39
• Wilson sets NCAA mark for pass efficiency at 191.8
• Badgers, Ducks combine for highest-scoring Rose Bowl

An official video review concluded that Wilson's attempt to stop the clock after a first-down completion took longer than the 2 seconds he had to work with, cementing another narrow loss for the Badgers (11-3) in a season that came agonizingly close to perfection.

"It just make it's that much more gut wrenching," UW head coach Bret Bielema said. "But on the same account, you can hold your head high knowing the perseverance, and the challenge and response that our guys showed was truly amazing and a great credit to their character."

As has been the case from the start of his brief Badgers career, Wilson was stellar. The senior completed 19 of 25 passes for 295 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He added a rushing TD, as well.

Wilson was intercepted for just the fourth time on the year but still managed to put the finishing touches on an NCAA single-season record for pass efficiency at 191.8 -- improving on the mark of 186.0 set by Hawaii's Colt Brennan in 2006.

He also became the first Badgers QB to pass for more than 3,000 yards in a season by piling up 3,175 and finished with the second-most touchdowns ever by a Big Ten quarterback with 33.

Junior running back Montee Ball left his stamp on the NCAA record book, as well, rushing for his 39th touchdown to tie Barry Sanders' mark for total TDs in a season. The Heisman Trophy finalist finished the game with 164 yards on 32 carries.

"It's been an honor since day one when I was being mentioned with him, and it will stick that way," Ball said of Sanders. "As the game was going on, I was trying to look for the victory."

He also became just the fourth player to run for at least 100 yards in consecutive Rose Bowls, joining O.J. Simpson of USC (1968 and '69), Ron Dayne of Wisconsin (1999 and 2000) and Vince Young of Texas (2005 and '06).

The Badgers led five separate times Monday as the teams traded punches, but UW couldn't muster another trip to the end zone after the Ducks opened the fourth quarter with a score.

Wisconsin coughed up a pair of uncharacteristic turnovers in the second half and gave up 621 yards to an Oregon offense that proved its ability to score quickly -- an affinity specifically showcased by speedster De'Anthony Thomas on touchdown runs of 91 and 64 yards.

Still, in a game that seemed to hinge on which team would blink first, the Badgers twice made Oregon flinch.

The first came when Mike Taylor broke free and knocked the ball loose from Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas, a fumble that bounced into the waiting arms of senior defensive end Louis Nzegwu for a 33-yard scoop-and-score touchdown in the second quarter.

Then, Aaron Henry's interception of a Thomas pass deep in Badgers territory looked to give UW a major leg up late in the third period.

However, the Ducks promptly answered four plays later when Kiko Alonso made a diving grab to snare a pass from Wilson that was intended for Jacob Pedersen.

That led to an 11-yard touchdown pass from Thomas to Lavasier Tuinei just inside the fourth quarter that gave Oregon the lead once again, at 42-35. The Badgers held the Ducks to a 30-yard field goal from Alejandro Maldonado on their next drive to keep it a one-score game with 6:50 to play.

Undeterred by the deficit, Wilson led the Badgers' offense back onto the field and tossed a pair of completions to Nick Toon, including a key third-down conversion that moved the ball near midfield.

Wilson's next target was Abbrederis, who found himself streaking down the sideline wide open and caught a pass in stride for a 29-yard gain. Terrance Mitchell didn't let him get any deeper into Ducks territory, however.

The freshman cornerback popped the ball loose from Abbrederis' grasp, dropping it perfectly along the Oregon sideline to be recovered by Michael Clay with 4:06 to play.

The Badgers' defense forced an Oregon punt, but not before the Ducks picked up a critical first down on an run by LaMichael James to bleed a few more precious seconds off the clock.

Wilson went back to work with 16 seconds left and hit Abbrederis on a 29-yard strike that set up another deep pass to Toon, this one going for 33 yards all the way down to the Oregon 25.

With two seconds remaining as play resumed, Wilson's attempt to spike the ball was ruled to have not been completed for the clock hit zeros, and the Ducks stormed the field.

"It would have been nice to have a chance there," Wilson said. "Obviously, with one second left, I think we could have capitalized there."

It was another tough pill to swallow for the Badgers, who had seen their run at a perfect season derailed by a pair of similar late-game setbacks midway through the season.  Also appropriate was the fact that, just as they had all season, the Badgers continued to shred the record books.

The highest-scoring bowl game in UW history, the teams' 83 combined points surpassed the 79 that UW and USC scored in the 1963 Rose Bowl.

In addition to the NCAA records by Ball and Wilson, a fantastic performance by Abbrederis set a new standard for all-purpose yardage in a bowl game. His 346 all-purpose yards (119 receiving, 206 kickoff return, 26 punt return) fell a single marker shy of Ron Dayne's school record of 347.

He also smashed the UW bowl game record for kickoff return yards of 100 set by Michael Jones in the 1984 Hall of Fame Bowl by running back eight kicks for 201 yards.

For the second time this season, Abbrederis (119) and Toon (104) each eclipsed 100 yards receiving in the same game.

Senior punter Brad Nortman went out with a bang, booming a pair of punts at an average of 44.5 yards per kick. Both were placed inside the 20 yard line, included a field position-changing boot of 56 yards.--

The Badgers will be forced to replace the likes of Nortman, Toon and Wilson -- as well as staples like four-year starting kicker Philip Welch and captains Patrick Butrym, Bradie Ewing and Aaron Henry -- but back-to-back Big Ten titles and near-misses in the Rose Bowl have Bielema confident in the Badgers' future.

"We'll rebound from this," Bielema said. "I wouldn't trade in anything, anyplace in the world for that locker room that I have right now."

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