Monday, January 2, 2012
Offense rules in Ducks record-breaking win
The Oregon Ducks’ high-powered offense lived up to the hype as the Ducks rallied from a late third-quarter deficit with 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat the Wisconsin Badgers 45-38 for their first Rose Bowl win since the 1916 season.
De'Anthony Thomas led Oregon to its first Rose Bowl win in nearly 100 years.
The Ducks and Badgers re-wrote the Rose Bowl record book with their offensive explosion in Pasadena. The 83 combined points are the most ever scored in the “Grandaddy of Them All”; the game also featured the highest-scoring first quarter (28) and first half (56) in Rose Bowl history.
The teams combined for 1,129 yards, one yard short of the record set in the 2006 game between USC and Texas, and the 557 combined rushing yards were the fourth-most ever in a Rose Bowl game. Oregon’s average of 9.7 yards per play is the highest of any team in Rose Bowl history and its 621 total yards of offense is the second-most by a team in this game.
Oregon dominated the line of scrimmage as the Ducks rushed for 345 yards, the most by any Wisconsin opponent this season. The Ducks' running backs entered the Rose Bowl averaging 2.8 more yards outside of the tackles than inside, but on Monday the Ducks were able to find room in regardless of direction, averaging over 10 yards per rush on carries both inside and outside the tackles.
De’Anthony Thomas had just two carries but made them count, accounting for 155 of the Ducks’ 345 yards on the ground. His first run was a Rose Bowl-record 91-yard scamper in the first quarter to tie the game at 14-14; his second was a 64-yard burst less than a minute into the third quarter which gave the Ducks their first lead of the game at 35-28.
Thomas is the first player in Rose Bowl history with two rushing touchdowns of at least 60 yards in the same game.
It’s no surprise that Thomas’ two long runs were so crucial to the Ducks’ victory. Oregon now has an FBS-best 22 rushes of at least 30 yards and finished the season a perfect 21-0 when they have at least one run of 30-plus yards in a game.
LaMichael James rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown, redeeming himself after totaling just 119 yards and no touchdowns in the Ducks’ last two BCS Bowl appearances. James now has 5,082 rushing yards, moving into second place on the Pac-12 career rushing list.
With the victory, Oregon has back-to-back 12-win seasons for the first time in school history. In fact, prior to last year, the Ducks had never won 12 games in any season.
Although Wisconsin ended up on the losing side, the Badgers were not without their own notable performances. Wisconsin's 38 points matched the Rose Bowl record for most points by a losing team, set by USC in its 41-38 loss to Texas in 2006.
Montee Ball scored his 39th touchdown of the season, tying Barry Sanders for the most touchdowns scored in a season. Russell Wilson threw for 296 yards including two touchdowns and finishes the season with a 191.8 passer efficiency rating, breaking the NCAA record set earlier this season by Robert Griffin III.
The Badgers' loss ensures that the Big Ten’s recent futility in the Rose Bowls continues. Since the 2000 season, Big Ten teams are just 1-8 in the game and have been outscored by an average of nearly 10 points per game.