It was an incredibly physical battle, but Stanford was able to outlast Wisconsin by a score of 20-14 in the Rose Bowl.
The "Granddaddy of Them All" proved to be one of the top bowl games of the season, although offense was at a premium.
Stanford looked like it would pull away early with two touchdowns in the first quarter.
Kelsey Young started off the scoring with a 16-yard scamper and then Stepfan Taylor extended the lead to 14-0 by running it in from three yards out.
The Cardinal were then able to keep Wisconsin off the scoreboard with a great goal-line stand at the beginning of the second quarter.
However, the Badgers did not quit. Two second-quarter touchdowns kept the game close, as Stanford's lead was only 17-14 at halftime.
Things were much different in the second half, as defense reigned supreme and both sides were held scoreless throughout the third quarter.
Stanford could only add a field goal in the second half, but that ended up being enough to hold on for the victory.
Stepfan Taylor was a big reason for the team's success, thanks to 88 rushing yards to go with the early touchdown. He ran hard and was able to do enough to give his team the win.
Wisconsin was led by a great performance from Montee Ball in his last game of his college career. The All-American ran for 100 yards and extended his record for most career rushing touchdowns with an 11-yard run in the second quarter.
Barry Alvarez, the former legendary Wisconsin coach, lost his first career Rose Bowl to fall to 3-1 for his career, but he should be proud of his team fighting hard in a game that many thought would be a blowout.
This is the third straight Rose Bowl loss for Wisconsin; however, reaching this game is nothing to be ashamed about.
For Stanford, this is a great way to cap off a fantastic season.
The Twitter account of SportsCenter posted about the historic win:
Bleacher Report's Aaron Nagler voiced the frustration that many fans had while watching this defensive struggle:
Really trying to enjoy the Rose Bowl. The 1978-era offenses making it difficult.— Aaron Nagler (@Aaron_Nagler) January 2, 2013
Of course, Kyle Kensing of the blog Saturday Blitz offered another explanation for the low-scoring battle:
Stanford rarely blew out opponents. You're getting a glimpse why. BCS caliber defense with a Sun Bowl offense— Kyle Kensing (@kensing45) January 2, 2013
Barry Alvarez decided to come out of coaching retirement for this game after Bret Bielema left for Arkansas. While this was a good story, ESPN's Darren Rovell offered a good reason for Alvarez to make this decision:
Barry Alvarez, who makes $1M as Wisconsin's athletics director, is getting paid an additional $118,500 for coaching Rose Bowl.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) January 1, 2013
One big storyline in this game was the fact that Wisconsin won the Big Ten after posting only a 4-4 record. This was helped by the fact that both Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible for the postseason due to sanctions.
As a result, Ohio State wide receiver Devin Smith believes that his team is the one that should have played in this game:
I think everyone knows who should be in the rose bowl lol #GoBucks— Devin Smith (@dsmithosu) January 1, 2013
We will never know what would have happened if Ohio State was eligible, but fans should not have been disappointed by the game that was played.
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