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Ducks Win Rose Bowl, Send Badgers Packing

Published On: Jan 03 2012 09:54:37 AM CST
Updated On: Jan 03 2012 12:06:16 PM CST
PASADENA, Calif. -

Darron Thomas threw three touchdown passes, including the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter, as Oregon defeated Wisconsin, 45-38, in a record-filled 98th Rose Bowl Game today.

Thomas' 11-yard touchdown pass to Lavasier Tuinei on the third play of the fourth quarter gave the Pacific-12 Conference champion Ducks a 42-38 lead they never relinquished.

Oregon, 12-2, increased its lead to 45-38 on Alejandro Maldonado's 30- yard field goal with six minutes, 50 seconds to play.

Big Ten Conference champion Wisconsin, 11-3, had the ball twice more after Maldonado's field goal. The first possession ended when Oregon linebacker Michael Clay recovered receiver Jared Abbrederis' fumble at the Ducks' 27-yard line with 4:06 remaining.

The Badgers got the ball back on their own 13-yard line with 16 seconds left. Quarterback Russell Wilson completed a 29-yard pass to Abbrederis and a 33-pass to Nick Toon put the ball on the Ducks' 25-yard line with two seconds left, but Wisconsin was unable to get another play off.

Tuinei was named the Offensive Player of the Game for making eight receptions for a game-high 158 yards and two touchdowns. He played at Golden West College in Huntington Beach in 2008 before transferring to Oregon.

Ducks linebacker Kiko Alonso was named the Defensive Player of the Game. His third-quarter interception of a Wilson pass at the Badgers' 39-yard line led to Oregon's go-ahead drive. Alonso also made five tackles, 2.5 for losses, including 1.5 quarterback sacks.

Thomas completed 17 of 23 passes for 268 yards. He had one pass intercepted.

Wilson completed 19 of 25 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns. He also had one pass intercepted.

The Ducks out-gained Wisconsin, 621 yards to 508.

The 83 points were the most in Rose Bowl Game history. The previous record was 80 points in the 1991 game between Iowa and Washington.

The first half ended in a 28-28 tie, the highest-scoring half in Rose Bowl Game history, topping the previous record of 53 points in the second half of the 2006 Rose Bowl Game between USC and Texas, which served as the Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.

The first quarter ended in a 14-14 tie, the highest-scoring first quarter in Rose Bowl Game history, erasing the previous record of 24 set in last year's game between Wisconsin and Texas Christian.

Oregon freshman running back De'Anthony Thomas ran 91 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first quarter, the longest run in Rose Bowl Game history The previous record was 88 yards by Michigan's Tyrone Wheatley in the 1993 game.

The second -- and final -- time De'Anthony Thomas carried the ball, he ran 64 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the third quarter.

De'Anthony Thomas is a 2011 graduate of Crenshaw High School who had made a non-binding commitment to USC before signing with the Ducks.

Badger running back Montee Ball's three-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was his 39th of the season, tying the major college record of 39 set by Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State in 1988.

Sanders' 39 touchdowns do not include the five he ran for in the Holiday Bowl. The NCAA did not include bowl game performances in its single-season records until 2002.

Wisconsin also scored on a 33-yard fumble return by defensive lineman Louis Nzegwu, the fifth fumble return touchdown in Rose Bowl Game history.

The 82-degree temperature at kickoff was the sixth-warmest in Rose Bowl Game history.

The Oregon Duck performed 192 push-ups. The mascot performs a push-up after each score for each point.

The Rose Bowl Game was played one day later than the traditional Jan. 1 date because of the Tournament of Roses Association's ``Never on Sunday'' policy which began with the Rose Parade, then extended to the football game. This was the 13th time the Rose Bowl Game was played on a Jan. 2 and first since 1995.

Officials decide to move the 1893 Rose Parade to Monday, Jan. 2 to avoid frightening horses tethered outside of local churches, which would interfere with Sunday services, according to information on the association's website.

In 1922, the first time New Year's Day fell on a Sunday when a Rose Bowl Game would have been played, it was moved to Monday.

The policy results in questions from the public, rather than opinions either way, according to Kevin Ash, the Rose Bowl Game's chief administrative officer, who has been associated with the game since 1984.

``People will say, 'The parade's on Monday. Is the game on Monday?''' Ash told City News Service. ''I've never heard anybody say 'I hate this' and I've never heard anybody say `I like this.'''

In years when the Rose Bowl Game is played on Jan. 2, ''we tend to shift our schedules a day,'' Ash said.

``In our minds, bowl week starts the 26th,'' Ash said. ''This year, it starts the 27th. Everything shifts a day.''

Because ``the tournament is steeped in tradition,'' a change to the 'Never on Sunday' policy has ''never really been addressed,'' by association officials, Ash said.

``It's always been accepted,'' Ash said. ``It's not even an issue. It's just something we do, that we believe in and that we will continue with.''