The Rose Bowl Game—often referred to as “The Grandaddy of Them All” since it is the oldest Bowl Game—sees its 98th year of being played this season when the Wisconsin Badgers take on the Oregon Ducks today. Typically contested between the champions of the Big Ten Conference and the Pacific-12 Conference—unless one of those teams is in the BCS National Championship Game, of course—this year will be Wisconsin’s seventh appearance while Oregon will be in the game for the fifth time. This is also the Badgers’ second consecutive appearance, as they played in the Rose Bowl against the TCU Horned Frogs in a losing effort in January 2011.
With the Ducks ranked higher than the Badgers—both in NCAA Football 12 and in the final BCS rankings for the 2011-2012 college football season—I decided to throw on the red and white of Wisconsin as I played the 2012 Rose Bowl Game for STAT BOX STORIES.
I lost the coin toss to open the game and Oregon elected to kick the ball off to me. On that opening kickoff, my returner was tackled and fumbled the ball, turning it over immediately to Oregon. Thankfully, an automatic booth review was called for and the original call was overturned, returning possession to my offense. I was unable to take advantage of this good fortune, however, and went three-and-out before punting. The Ducks returned the punt back into Wisconsin territory, setting them up with good field position. A few plays later, a screen pass to the wide receiver turned into a 6-yard touchdown and an early 7-0 lead for Oregon.
On my second possession, I was able to drive into Oregon territory but then threw an interception and was unable to capitalize on my team’s efforts. Momentum began to swing my way, however, when an Oregon pass at midfield was intercepted by my middle linebacker and returned 55 yards for a defensive touchdown and a 7-7 game.
When the Ducks got the ball back, they had the misfortune of a three-and-out and my next drive resulted in a 9-yard touchdown run just under two minutes into the second quarter. Oregon’s next drive stalled again and their punt put me in position for a 60 yard play action pass for a touchdown and a 21-7 lead.
Wisconsin’s solid run defense forced another Oregon punt, but the Badgers returned the ball quickly after a three-and-out. On Oregon’s next possession, a successful drive was punctuated by a 29-yard rushing touchdown to narrow the lead to a single touchdown with 1:20 remaining in the half. With time running out, a long pass completion for Wisconsin got them into Oregon territory and then a 16-yard rushing touchdown restored Wisconsin’s two-touchdown lead with under a minute remaining in the half. The score remained the same as Oregon ran out the clock to go into the half down 28-14.
The Ducks’ first drive of the second half ended in another interception for the Wisconsin defense, but the turnover was wiped off the board when the Badgers were picked off deep in Oregon territory. The series of interceptions continued, however, when Wisconsin picked off a pass to the flats by Oregon on the next Ducks drive. The Badgers had to settle for a 44-yard field goal conversion, but it still allowed the lead to extend to 17 points.
Oregon’s next drive was no more successful, as a deep pass was intercepted by the Badgers and returned into Oregon territory. The Badgers were unable to get more points from the turnover, however, taking a sack on third down and being forced to punt. The Ducks’ next drive saw Oregon facing a 4th-and-12 at midfield; when their pass came up a yard shy of the marker, the ball was turned back over to Wisconsin. The Badgers offense was unable to capitalize, however, as a deep pass was dropped in the end zone and another punt was forced.
On their next possession, Oregon again found themselves facing fourth down tries; the first opportunity was a 4th-and-6, which the Ducks managed to convert. Later in the drive, however, a 4th-and-15 try ended in a pass deflection and Wisconsin regained possession on downs. This time, Wisconsin pounded the ball on the ground with their superb halfback corps and the result was a 7-yard touchdown run with just under a minute to play. The Ducks managed to put more points on the board with a 37-yard touchdown pass with just over half a minute remaining, but their attempt at a 2-point conversion ended in the run being stuffed and the ensuing onside kick attempt was recovered by Wisconsin. The Badgers were able to run out the rest of the time remaining to seal a win in the 2012 Rose Bowl and avenge last year’s defeat.
In terms of Team Statistics, it was a solid day for offense in terms of total yards; the Badgers racked up 425 (229 rushing, 196 passing) while Oregon got 366 (95 rushing, 271 passing). Wisconsin managed 5 trips to Red Zone compared to Oregon’s 1, but the Badgers came away without any points on two of those forays inside the Ducks’ 20 yard line. All of the turnovers from the game came on interceptions, and Oregon was responsible to losing the ball twice as much as Wisconsin. Time of Possession also played a role in the Badgers’ victory, as they possessed the ball for over four minutes longer than Oregon.
From an individual perspective, Oregon’s quarterback had a better game in terms of passing yards but his four interceptions proved too much for the Ducks to overcome. Wisconsin’s stud running backs each managed over 100 yards rushing and scores, with HB #28 scoring once before being forced to leave the game with a serious leg injury. On defense, Wisconsin’s MLB #44 turned in one of the game’s most important plays with his 55-yard pick-six; he also contributed seven total tackles.
With the conclusion of the 2012 Rose Bowl, the next BCS Bowl entry here at STAT BOX STORIES will cover the 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl between the Stanford Cardinal and the Oklahoma State Cowboys; the best part is, since that game also takes place today, it’s already up on the site! Click here to read it!