Dec. 29, 2010
MADISON, Wis. -- Politely but firmly, Barry Alvarez interrupted the questioner who was innocently suggesting his players’ focus might not be as sharp for the 1994 Rose Bowl given all the goals that the Badgers had reached to get there. Patiently, the UW coach reiterated a point that he had made earlier.
“We have one goal left – win,’’ he said. “Win the bowl game. Our kids listen to what we say. That’s why I wasn’t going to be satisfied with getting to any bowl game or getting to a January 1st game or getting to the Rose Bowl. The last goal is to win – win the bowl game.’’
The Badgers did what they had to do in Tokyo against Michigan State. They won. And now Alvarez was preparing them for the ultimate challenge – to win the Rose Bowl.
“I had no trouble finding an edge against UCLA,’’ Alvarez said. “I played the ‘home team advantage’ card. During the regular season, the Bruins play their home games at the Rose Bowl and their coach, Terry Donahue, asked me if he could keep his players in the home locker room.
“C’mon, do you really think I’m going to let them do that? We’re going to take the home locker room, we’re going to dress in red, and we’re going to make them as uncomfortable as hell about the whole deal. I started telling the kids, ‘We’re going to be playing at Camp Randall West.’’’
Alvarez knew that playing in the Rose Bowl was obviously not as big of a deal to UCLA as it was to Wisconsin. Especially after the Bruins, to save money, had kept their players in the dorms for the first week before relocating them to a hotel in Pasadena. That made the experience less of a treat.
“I played that card, too,’’ Alvarez said. “I poor boy-ed it because I thought we could set them up. They were a good football team, very talented. But they had no respect for Wisconsin. I’m sure most of their players felt like they could just go through the motions and win the game.’’
At the Rose Bowl luncheon, the master of ceremonies focused almost exclusively on the Bruins and all but ignored Wisconsin’s presence in the room, let alone the bowl. That irked Alvarez.
“We had three of our players there and he couldn’t even get their names right,’’ Alvarez said. “I was steamed and when it was my turn to talk, I was still fuming. So I let them have it. I told everybody, ‘I’m really sorry if I’m interrupting a UCLA pep rally.’ That played into my ‘no respect’ theme.’’
On game day, Alvarez had his players take the field 15 minutes earlier than normal for the pregame stretching just so everyone could get a feel for the atmosphere in the stadium.
“We have to start fast,’’ he instructed his team. “Remember this is not UCLA’s home field. The Bruins rent this place. Where do we play best? At home. Look around, it’s going to be all red here today. We’re going to have 70 percent of the people rooting for us. This is our home field, our home game.’’
Welcome to Camp Randall West.
Brent Moss made himself at home, too, slashing through the Bruins for 158 yards and two touchdowns in Wisconsin’s 21-16 win over UCLA. In topping the 100-yard mark for the 11th-consecutive game, Moss averaged 4.4 yards per carry and picked up 10 of the UW’s 21 first downs overall.
“When I woke up in the morning, I knew I was playing in the Rose Bowl and I wasn’t going to be denied,’’ said Moss, who was the runaway winner of the Most Valuable Player award. “I did what I did because I had a lot of redshirted guys (offensive linemen) in front of me and I went where they led me.’’
Fullback Mark Montgomery was usually the lead blocker for Moss and Terrell Fletcher. But Montgomery and UW wideout Lee DeRamus got kicked out of the game in the third quarter after an altercation with UCLA defensive backs Marvin Goodwin and Donovan Gallatin, who were also ejected.
“It affected us more than it affected them,’’ Alvarez said. “But in the fourth quarter, we got one of the most unlikely touchdown runs you’ll ever see.’’
UW quarterback Darrell Bevell will forever be remembered for “The Run.’’
The Badgers were clinging to a 14-10 lead and had a second-and-8 from the UCLA 21.
“It was supposed to be a pass play to the right but everyone was covered,’’ Bevell said. “When I looked over to the left, I saw all of this room, so I figured I’d get as far as I could. I never expected to get all the way to the end zone.’’
Nobody expected this: Bevell running. After avoiding a tackler behind the line of scrimmage, Bevell put a terrific juke on UCLA defensive back Teddy Lawrence, who crumbled in agony to the turf while Bevell curised untouched into the end zone.
“I never ran that far with a football in my life,’’ Bevell said. “I guess the coaches in the press box were laughing along with the coaches and the players on the field.’’
Offensive center Cory Raymer was laughing the hardest.
“I’ve never seen him run so fast,’’ Raymer said. “I went over to their D-back (Lawrence) and said, ‘I can’t believe you got juked out by our QB. You should just hand in your cleats right now.’
“I thought he was going to pull up with the normal white-flag quarterback slide. But he juked right and went left and I said to myself, ‘Is this Bevell running into the end zone? Oh, my God.’’’
It was the longest run of Bevell’s career, a defining run, a run for the ages. All that was left to seal the win was for UCLA quarterback Wayne Cook to flush out of the pocket with no timeouts remaining. What was Cook thinking? Who knows? But it turned out to be the final play of the game.
“I remember reading Jim Murray’s column the next day in the Los Angeles Times,’’ Alvarez said. “He wrote about how the rubes from Wisconsin rode their hay wagon into the Rose Bowl, baited the city slickers, set them up, and walked out a winner. That’s how Murray saw it. And that’s what we did.
“That game gave everybody credibility. It gave our fans bragging rights. It showed them that hope was alive. That game put our program on the map. We were now legitimate.’’