PASADENA, Calif.—The 99th Rose Bowl might have put your granddaddy to sleep on Tuesday, but Stanford and its fans will be up for days celebrating the school’s first Rose Bowl victory in more than four decades.
Usua Amanam’s interception of Wisconsin quarterback Curt Phillips’ pass with 2:03 left clinched Stanford’s 20-14 victory before a crowd of 93,359 on a cold, crisp day.
It was an old-fashioned, hard-fought, slugfest.
Some might have called it boring. The schools, in the third quarter, combined for seven punts and only three first downs. The teams totaled 37 combined passes and 80 rushes. Wisconsin ended with only 83 total passing yards while Stanford finished with 157.
The only second-half scoring was a 22-yard field goal by Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson.
Wisconsin, which played conservatively the entire game, still had one last chance to win before Amanam’s interception sealed Stanford’s victory.
The celebration began after Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan took a final knee near midfield.
Stanford, the Pac 12 champion, finished the season at 12-2. It was the school’s first Rose Bowl win since 1972, when quarterback Don Bunce and the “Thunderchickens” defeated Michigan.
That was the year after Jim Plunkett led Stanford to a Rose Bowl victory over Ohio State.
Wisconsin (8-6) became only the third team to suffer three consecutive Rose Bowl losses, joining California (1949, ’50, ’51) and Michigan in 1977, ’78 and ’79.
Stanford scored on its first two drives and threatened to turn the Rose Bowl into a rout.
The Cardinal took the opening kickoff and drove 80 yards in seven plays and scored on Kelsey Young’s 16-yard reverse around left end.
On Stanford’s second possession, Kevin Hogan’s 43-yard pass to tight end Zach Ertz set up Stepfan Taylor’s three-yard scoring run.
Was it really going to be that easy?
No. Wisconsin finally found its footing in the second quarter when Montee Ball scored on an 11-yard touchdown run.
On the play, Ball became the first player to score a touchdown in three different Rose Bowls.
Stanford extended its lead to 17-7 on Williamson’s 47-yard field goal but Wisconsin cut the lead to three when Phillips hit Jordan Fredrick on a four-yard scoring pass with 19 seconds left in the half.
Wisconsin trailed Stanford, 9-3, at the half in the 2000 Rose Bowl before rallying to win.
That was the third of Barry Alvarez’s three Rose Bowl wins as Wisconsin coach. The Badgers, though, couldn’t come back this time.
Alvarez, now the university’s athletic director, returned to the sidelines for Tuesday’s game in a one-game interim situation. Alvarez resigned in 2005 after 16 years on the sidelines.
When Bret Bielema left Wisconsin for the Arkansas coaching job in early December, the Wisconsin players asked Alvarez to coach them in the Rose Bowl.
Former Utah State coach Gary Andersen has been named the team’s permanent coach.