Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Rose Bowl: Stanford 20, Wisconsin 14

I was rooting for the Badgers, actually. But they weren't playing well at all.

At the New York Times, "Stanford Wears Out Wisconsin on Ground":

PASADENA, Calif. — The view was a sight to behold, the sun setting on the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance. Down below, the teams looked vintage as the 99th Rose Bowl devolved into something familiar for Barry Alvarez: brawn, bruises and punts. A lot of punts.

But Alvarez’s 16 seasons as Wisconsin’s coach, a College Football Hall of Fame induction, a previously perfect 3-0 Rose Bowl record, his vintage red sweater vest and his timeless sunglasses did not count for much on Tuesday. Not against Stanford, a program that flexed its staying power, slowly wearing out the Badgers, 20-14.

It was Stanford’s first Rose Bowl win since 1972 and Wisconsin’s third Rose Bowl loss in three years.

In his final game, Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, the N.C.A.A. record-holder for career touchdowns (83), rushed for 100 yards on 24 carries and scored on an 11-yard run.

The second half was a tug of war between Ball and his Stanford counterpart Stepfan Taylor. Back and forth Ball and Taylor went, disappearing in a mosh pit of red and white bodies, out of sight to gain their yards. Taylor gained 88 yards on 20 carries and scored on a 3-yard run that gave Stanford a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

Trailing, 20-14, Wisconsin mounted a final drive, but quarterback Curt Phillips’s pass was tipped and intercepted by Usua Amanam near midfield with 2 minutes 3 seconds remaining.

Wisconsin seniors had pleaded for Alvarez, the athletic director, to step in for Bret Bielema, who had left for Arkansas. Alvarez hired the Utah State coach Gary Andersen, but decided to take Bielema’s place in the Rose Bowl. Six assistants who will have new jobs stayed to assist Alvarez.

Stanford (12-2), ranked eighth, opened the game with two touchdown drives, balanced and impressive, as it had looked with Andrew Luck at quarterback a year ago. Taylor pushed forward and wiggled for extra yards. Kevin Hogan, who is often likened to Luck, looked as if this were not his fifth career start, marching the Cardinal 80 and 79 yards.

Bill Plaschke wasn't thrilled:

Well, Stanford's sure excited.