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Record-tying Ball has made up mind on NFL

PASADENA, Calif. -- Montee Ball's incredible year ended with another huge performance in the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO. Now the Wisconsin star looks ready to take on his next challenge.

Ball, a junior, said he made his decision on whether or not to enter the draft on Dec. 31, and the outcome of the game did not affect it. He declined to share what he'll do but said he will announce his intentions in the next 48 to 72 hours. He has already told a few teammates.

"Basically, I looked myself in the mirror and told myself what I needed to do for me, what I needed to do for my family and for my teammates," Ball said. "And that's what it came down to."

Ball sounded like a guy who's leaving when he talked about the 45-38 loss, saying that the film from the game would help make the Badgers stronger, then adding "the players that are coming back."

He has very little left to prove. Ball ran for 164 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries against Oregon. His 3-yard plunge into the end zone in the second quarter gave him 39 for the season, tying Barry Sanders' record for the most in one season.

In a game with so many points, it's kind of hard to believe Ball only scored once. He said he was looking forward to breaking the record, but is happy to have tied the legendary Sanders, who tweeted his congratulations to Ball during the game.

"We'll share it together," said Ball, whose 39 touchdowns came in three more games than Sanders'. "My name will be mentioned along with Barry Sanders, and that's an honor."

Ball finished with 1,923 rushing yards this season, most in the nation. If his college career really is over, his 2011 season will long be remembered.

Ball had 122 of his yards in the first half and looked to be on the way to an even more remarkable performance. But Oregon was able to slow down the Wisconsin running game in the second half.

"They did a great job of having the safeties come down fast and meeting me in the hole," Ball said. "Within 3 yards, they'd be right in front of me. Props to them for adjusting their defense."