2012 Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks Grab Elusive BCS Bowl Win

Joe PenkalaCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2012

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02:  Quarterback Darron Thomas #5 of the Oregon Ducks celebrates after the Ducks 45-38 victory against the Wisconsin Badgers at the 98th Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

For the past two years, Oregon has gotten on the BCS stage but come up short in the Rose Bowl and the national championship.

Now under the third year of coach Chip Kelly's leadership, the Ducks were back in the BCS and in their second Rose Bowl. To this point, Kelly had led the Ducks to three straight conference titles, but the big knock against him was that his offense and team had failed to win their BCS game.

This year that has all changed.

Going up against Wisconsin, Oregon and its offense showed up in a huge way, as the Ducks won 45-38. 

In this game, Oregon got production all over the field and made key plays when needed. 

Offensively, DeAnthony Thomas was spectacular as he took his only two carries to the end zone on huge plays, the first being a 91-yard record-setter at the Rose Bowl.

Defensively, Kiko Alonso had a huge game. Throughout the game, Alonso made big play after big play and it finally ended with him making an interception on Russell Wilson that gave Oregon control of the game. 

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02:  Dior Mathis #3 and Kenjon Barner #24 of the Oregon Ducks run out on the field after the Ducks defeated the Wisconsin Badgers 45-38 at the 98th Rose Bowl Game on January 2, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansez
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Most importantly for Kelly is in this game, the Oregon offense showed up all game long and made a ton of huge plays. With the knock against him being that his offense has fizzled out in BCS games, Kelly and the Ducks scored more points in the Rose Bowl than their two previous games combined. 

In the end, this is another step in the evolution of the Oregon Ducks football program.

When Kelly took over, the Ducks and their fans would have been ecstatic at the idea of three straight BCS games regardless of the outcome and now the bar has been raised to starting to consistently win those games.

For now, the Ducks will celebrate a Rose Bowl victory and likely a top-five start in next year's rankings. Only time will tell if this win serves as a turning point down the road.

Joe Penkala is a B/R Featured Columnist that covers college football and the Oregon Ducks. You can contact him @joepenkala.