PASADENA─A 30-yard touchdown run by quarterback Justin Herbert late in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference, as Oregon defeated Wisconsin, 28-27 in the 106th Rose Bowl. It was an epic seesaw contest which truly lived up to the hype and expectations befitting “The Granddaddy Of Them All.” Oregon (12-2) captured their fourth Rose Bowl victory, while Wisconsin (10-4) lost their fourth Rose Bowl in a row.
It seems Wisconsin shut down Herbert’s powerful arm; it was his legs that ultimately propelled the Ducks to victory. Herbert threw for only 138 yards, while the offense gained a measly 204 yards. The game had everything a football fan craves; turnovers, special team’s blunders and six lead changes in this thriller.
Oregon opened the game with an early touchdown before Wisconsin’s Aron Cruickshank returned a 95-yard kickoff to even the score at 7-7. The Ducks capitalized off three Badger turnovers to generate 21 points. One pivotal play was the botched punt by Wisconsin punter Anthony Lotti, who inexplicably dropped the ball. Oregon’s Brady Breeze palmed the pigskin with one hand as if it were a basketball, than ran 31-yards for a touchdown early in the second half. Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor ran for 94 yards and wide receiver Quintez Cephus hauled in seven receptions for 59 yards and a score. The Badgers held a narrow 24-21 edge in the fourth quarter and were going in for the kill. Yet, Oregon’s defense came through in the red zone, holding Wisconsin to a field goal.
With 7:41 remaining, Herbert faked a handoff and darted 31-yards to immortality. His 31-yard scamper put Oregon up for good. On the following possession, Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan struggled all afternoon. A controversial pass interference call on the offense wiped out any chance of a last second win. Never knew Ducks enjoyed cheese!