A late interception ended the Wisconsin Badgers comeback hopes, as they fell to the Stanford Cardinal by a score of 20-14 in the 2013 Rose Bowl.
The Badgers defense managed to keep the Cardinal out of the end zone and settle for a field goal in the fourth quarter to keep the lead within reach. However, an interception late by quarterback Curt Phillips allowed the Cardinal to run out the clock and seal the victory.
Barry Alvarez, coaching the Badgers before former Utah State head coach Gary Andersen takes over the team, fell short in his bid for his fourth Rose Bowl victory. The Badgers rushing attack put up solid numbers, but the passing game fell short in its attempt to lead a late charge.
Let's take a look at the Badgers' final postgame grades and evaluations.
Overall Game Grade: C
Senior quarterback Curt Phillips proved that his knees were healthy throughout his 2013 Rose Bowl performance, but his passing was not enough to give the Badgers a balanced offensive attack.
Phillips attempted just one pass in the first quarter, but it fell for an incompletion. However, he did manage to scramble for eight yards and pick up a first down in a quarter that saw the Badgers go down by 14 points early.
The second quarter saw Phillips at his best. Joel Stave came in for two plays and nearly threw a touchdown to Jared Abbrederis, but Phillips returned to lead the Badgers into the Cardinal red zone three times. The first trip was setup by a nine yard pass from Phillips to Jacob Pedersen, while the second was preceded by a 22 yard completion to Abbrederis.
During the third red zone trip, Phillips picked up 38 yards on a run before finding Jordan Fredrick in the end zone for a touchdown, putting the Badgers within three points of the Cardinal.
However, these were the last red zone trips for the Badgers.
Phillips completed just two passes in the third quarter, the latter of which went for the Badgers second first down of the quarter. Phillips first moved the chains on a 13 yard scramble, giving the Badgers the first, first down by either team in the third quarter.
Phillips completed one of two passes in the fourth quarter. The first went to Kenzel Doe for a short gain. The second went for an interception, giving the ball back to the Cardinal and allowing the team to run out the clock.
For the game, Phillips completed 10 of 16 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown and interception.
The touchdown came after head coach Barry Alvarez used the team’s third timeout of the drive, and before a third-and-goal. However, the rest of the game did not go as smoothly for Phillips.
The Badgers ran the ball nearly two and a half times more than they passed it, but it was not enough to setup any deep passes from Phillips, as his biggest completion came for 22 yards on a pass that was deflected but still caught by Abbrederis.
Overall Game Grade: A-
Montee Ball gave Wisconsin their first big play when he rushed for 24 yards on just the second play of the game for the Badgers.
However, the performances of Ball, Melvin Gordon and James White did not match the 527 yard performance that the three players combined for in the Big Ten Championship Game.
Ball had 24 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown, but did not have another run go for more than 24 yards after the Badgers second play of the game. Melvin Gordon had the next biggest rush by a Badgers running back when he picked up 15 yards. The freshman had nine rushes for 51 yards and averaged 5.7 yards per carry. White, meanwhile, had just four yards on six carries.
White was also stopped on a fourth-and-goal run in the second quarter that kept the Badgers down by 14.
Quarterback Curt Phillips was the second leading rusher for the Badgers, racking up 64 yards on five carries. These numbers helped the Badgers rush for more yards than the Cardinal rushing attack, 218-187. Both teams entered the game with some of the nation’s best backs, as well as some of the best run defenses.
Gordon’s 15 yard rush helped setup Ball’s 11 yard touchdown run in the second quarter, giving the Badgers two of their biggest rushes on the same drive.
After that, however, the Cardinal were able to limit the big rushes and make big stops, especially on the jet sweep motion plays that the Badgers refused to abandon.
Overall Game Grade: D
Only three wide receivers caught passes for the Badgers, giving them a total of 53 receiving yards.
Junior Jared Abbrederis had his highest number of receiving yards in a game in more than two months, as he caught three passes for 44 yards. Abbrederis’ biggest reception came on a pass from quarterback Curt Phillips that was deflected, yet he still managed to reel it in for a 22 yard gain.
After Abbrederis, however, only Kenzel Doe and Jordan Fredrick caught passes.
Doe, a sophomore, caught a fourth quarter pass for five yards, while Fredrick caught Phillips’ lone touchdown pass in the second quarter. The touchdown catch was the first of Fredrick’s career with the Badgers.
Running backs Montee Ball and James White also combined to catch three passes for 12 yards.
The Cardinal were able to win the receiving yardage battle thanks largely to three big passes in the first quarter, one of which came on a trick play, that helped setup touchdowns.
The 53 total receiving yards by the Badgers three wide receivers was eight yards less than the total number of yards gained by the Cardinal leading receiver.
Overall Game Grade: C
Jacob Pedersen and Sam Arneson caught passes for the Badgers.
Pedersen’s nine yard catch had little impact on the Badgers drive, as it resulted in a punt. Arneson’s catch, however, came on third down and helped keep the drive alive and setup Phillips’ eventual touchdown pass to Jordan Fredrick.
For Pedersen, this marked his fourth straight game with a catch, while Arneson’s catch marked his second straight game with a reception.
Overall Game Grade: B-
The Badgers offensive line had its holes at times, but managed to keep Curt Phillips on his feet for most of the game.
However, the line was not able to setup any bursts for James White, while Montee Ball was forced to pick up a good amount of yardage after contact. Players such as Shayne Skov were also able to penetrate the line and get to Phillips.
Phillips was forced to hurry his pass attempt in the fourth quarter that was intercepted, as a defender had gotten by the line and forced him to make a quick pass. The line did, however, help the Badgers pick up 218 yards on the ground. The Badgers also were 7-15 on third-down conversions, while the Cardinal finished 3-11.
Overall Game Grade: A
The defensive line did a tremendous job limiting the run game for three quarters, before the Cardinal were able to wear the unit down in the fourth quarter.
The Cardinal picked up 46 rushing yards on a drive in the fourth quarter that saw the Badgers bounce back from getting fooled on one third down play to hold the offense to a field goal attempt. However, the success in the run game on the drive, combined with fresh substitutions, allowed the Cardinal to wear down the line and use up a great deal of time.
Beau Allen had a big tackle in the third quarter, while David Gilbert was able to stuff Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan on one of the numerous scrambles he attempted throughout the game.
The Badgers defensive line was able to force Hogan out of the pocket multiple times, but did allow him to average 7.7 yards per rush.
Cardinal running back Stepfan Taylor needed 20 carries to rush for 88 yards, although Anthony Wilkerson had a rush of 19 yards and a crucial third down conversion.
Overall Game Grade: A-
Chris Borland and Mike Taylor led the Badgers linebackers and each made big plays.
Taylor made plays all over the field and tried to set the tone early for the defense, while Borland was able to stop Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan from picking up a first down on the ground in the second quarter.
The Badgers linebackers helped in limiting the effectiveness of the Cardinal rushing attack, but did take some time settle in and disrupt Hogan’s passing, as he did not throw an incompletion until near the midway point of the second quarter.
The Badgers were able to keep the Cardinal from having success on third down, as they held the offense to just 3-11 on conversion attempts, but were unable to force a turnover.
Overall Game Grade: C-
Devin Smith nearly came up with an interception for the Badgers in the third quarter, while Dezmen Southward also had his contributions felt.
However, the Badgers secondary struggled in the first quarter to prevent deep passes despite playing tight coverage.
The Badgers were able to escape Marcus Cromartie’s pass interference call in the second quarter unharmed, but it was the first quarter in which the Cardinal decided to air it out on offense.
The Badgers were beaten on a trick play in which Cardinal wide receiver Drew Terrell threw a 34 yard completion to Jamal-Rashad Patterson, and again later in the quarter when Terrell caught a 19 yard pass of his own. The biggest completion came when Hogan was able to find Zach Ertz for a 43 yard gain. Each of these plays helped in setting up two Cardinal first quarter touchdowns.
However, Hogan passed for just 61 yards throughout the remainder of the game.
Overall Game Grade: C
Drew Meyer managed to land a few punts within the Cardinal 20-yard line, but the return game received few contributions.
Kenzel Doe and Jared Abbrederis had few return yards, and Shelton Johnson was called for an interference penalty in the fourth quarter.
Overall Game Grade: B
Barry Alvarez returned to the field and tried to guide the Badgers to a Rose Bowl victory in the team’s third straight appearance in the game, while also looking to win his fourth career title in the Granddaddy of Them All.
Unfortunately, the offensive play calling was not able to establish the passing game, while the continued use of motion plays did not pick up the needed yardage.
Defensively, the Badgers did a tremendous job limiting the Cardinal rushing attack, and bounced back to slow down the passing game after the first quarter. However, the fourth quarter saw the Cardinal running backs wear down a defensive line that had turned in an overall strong performance, while turning to quarterback Curt Phillips’ arm with the game on the line was not enough to complete the comeback.
Alvarez, offensive coordinator Matt Canada and the offense’s decision to rush James White up the middle on a fourth-and-goal play early in the second quarter was questionable at the time with the ball not going to Montee Ball.
However, the Badgers did their best to create a balanced attack despite having a ground game more effective than its passing attack.