The game pitted the Big Ten champion Badgers' run heavy offense vs. the Pac-12 champion Stanford's highly ranked rush defense. Wisconsin has struggled this year with passing, averaging just 162.6 passing yards per game while Stanford had allowed an average of less than 100 rushing yards per game.
Stanford received the opening kickoff and scored on its first two possessions following an 80 and a 79 yard drive to go up 14-0. On their second possession, the Badgers marched 74 yards in 14 plays only to fall short inside the one yard line eight minutes and 17 seconds later. Although they committed the turnover on downs, the Badgers' defense held the Cardinal and led to Wisconsin's first scoring drive following great starting field position.
For the remainder of the game the Cardinal struggled on offense, only scoring on a field goal in the middle of the second quarter and another field goal with 4:23 to go in the fourth quarter. The Badgers only scored one more time on a passing touchdown late in the first half but were unable to capitalize on the momentum.
The second half was a true defensive struggle as the first nine combined drives all ended in a punt. Stanford sealed its victory as Usua Amanam intercepted Badger quarterback Curt Phillips with 2:03 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan completed 12 out of 19 passes for 123 yards. He also contributed 54 rushing yards on seven carries. As a team, Stanford rushed 35 times for 187 yards and was led by running back Stepfan Taylor, who had 21 carries for 89 yards and one touchdown.
Phillips finished the day completing 10 out of 16 passes for 83 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Badgers. The Badgers rushed 45 times for 218 yards as running back Montee Ball led the way with 100 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries. Ball has rushed for at least 100 yards in three separate Rose Bowls.
The loss is Wisconsin's third consecutive loss in the Rose Bowl.
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