The Oregon Ducks faced a towering opponent in the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl on January 2nd 2012. The Ducks came into the Rose Bowl focused and ready to face the dynamic duo of senior quarterback Russell Wilson and powerful junior running back Monte Ball. On the first drive Wisconsin came out swinging with a 77- yard drive for a touchdown. But the Ducks matched them with a seven play 80 yard drive capped by a 5 – yard touchdown run by Kenjon Barner, junior running back.
It was offensive attacks for both teams as they went back and forth with impressive drives the whole first half. One of the key players of the game was freshmen running back De’Anthony Thomas. He set a record for the longest run in Rose Bowl history with a 91- yard run from scrimmage. It was the highest scoring first half in Rose Bowl history with the score deadlocked at 28-28 at the end of the second quarter.
The Ducks had possession to start the first half and took advantage with a 64 – yard TD run by Thomas. After two scoring drives resulted in 10 points for Wisconsin, the Badgers leaded 38-35 going into the fourth quarter. After Oregon failed to convert, they had to give the ball back to the Wisconsin offense.
The turning point of the game was when sophomore safety Kiko Alonso made a huge interception to set the Ducks up on the Badgers 39 yard line with the game tied at 38. It just took six plays for the Ducks to reach the end zone. With 2:44 left on the game clock Wisconsin stole the ball back. On the first play from scrimmage Wilson’s pass to junior wide receiver Jared Abbrideris was punched out and recovered by sophomore safety Michael Clay.
The Wisconsin defense held up and had one last chance. Wisconsin was in the hurry up offense and got the ball down to the 38 yard line of Oregon in just two plays. With two seconds left, the referee started the clock by moving his arm Russell Wilson spiked the ball, but it did not touch the ground before the clock struck zero.
“It has been 95 years since you could say Oregon Ducks are Rose Bowl champions.” head coach Chip Kelly, said.