As the college football season wound down to a close, the Wisconsin Badgers standing in the Big10 conference, and ranking overall, allowed them to earn a berth in the Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, CA for their final game of the 2019-20 season. The Badgers have now been to the Rose Bowl a total of 10 times throughout the school’s history, winning three of them. Although it was a fight to the finish between the two teams, No. 8 Wisconsin was defeated in a close loss of 28-27 as the No. 6 Oregon Ducks clinched the win at the Rose Bowl. This got Oregon to a total of 4 wins out of 8 Rose Bowl appearances.
From the opening kick, it seemed it would be a close game, as it continued the results varied for who the predicted winner could be. In the end, a four-turnover game would have tragic consequences for the Wisconsin Badgers as they lost the bowl game by a point.
Oregon opened the game with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that lasted just over five minutes and was capped off by 4-yard rushing touchdown made by Justin Herbert. Herbert would later add a second rushing touchdown to the first-half score. With an early 7-0 lead, Oregon kicked off to Aron Cruickshank, who returned the kick for a 95-yard touchdown. After Collin Larsh made the extra point, the score would even up at 7-7.
After that, both teams continued to have their ups and downs throughout the game, trying to rise above the other. While Wisconsin was able to get off to a quick start thanks to special teams and a turnover, two Wisconsin turnovers, as well as some untimely penalties thwarted its offense early in the game. And while Oregon was able to capitalize on a Jack Coan interception and the short field that it provided, the Ducks struggled to move the ball against Wisconsin’s defense. Wisconsin ended the first half of the game, scoring in the final two minutes of the half, bringing the score to 10-7 before the second half.
Moving into the second half, Wisconsin’s offensive trouble continued to be an issue. The Badgers failed to convert on third down and on the fourth down punter Anthony Lotti fumbled the snap allowing Oregon’s Brady Breeze to sweep in and return Lotti’s fumble for a 31-yard touchdown.
After this, Wisconsin was able to reclaim the lead on a Mason Stokke two-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-one. Continuing the back and forth successes and failures between the two teams. Wisconsin also converted another fourth-and-one on the drive, with a 34-yard pass completion to Jonathan Taylor.
Sadly in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin’s offensive troubles resurfaced as Danny Davis fumbled on a jet sweep leading to another rushing touchdown by Herbert. Then, as Wisconsin looked to reclaim the lead having converted the first down on pass completion, Davis was penalized for a controversial offensive pass interference call and Wisconsin was unable to make up the lost yardage. Following a punt from the backup punter Conner Allen, Oregon was able to run out the clock and seal the victory over Wisconsin.
Wisconsin out-gained Oregon 322 to 204 in yards, but the minus-three turnover margin was too much for the Badgers to overcome to clinch a Rose Bowl game. As Wisconsin fans left the stadium or turned off their TVs, all they were left with was a good fight, and hope for next year’s season.
By Caleigh Christy