The Wisconsin Badgers got a 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Aron Cruickshank and had the upper hand in the stat column as well as a 17-minute advantage in time of possession, yet found themselves falling to the Oregon Ducks 28-27 in the New Years Day Rose Bowl.
Four turnovers (three fumbles and one interception) and nine penalties allowed the Ducks to sneak out of Pasadena with a victory. Oregon turned those turnovers into 21 points.
The Badgers suffered their fourth straight Rose Bowl defeat. They couldn’t put together a late drive, nor could they get a late stop when they needed it most.
The Ducks captured their third straight Rose Bowl victory.
Jonathan Taylor and wide receiver Danny Davis both lost fumbles and punter Anthony Lotti fumbled while trying to get off a punt that was scooped up and returned 31 yards for a touchdown.
Taylor was held to 94 yards on 21 carries after he had rushed for 100 yards in 10 of 13 games this season and 32 of 40 games in his Wisconsin career.
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert killed the Badgers with his feet. He scampered 30-yards for the eventual game winning touchdown, giving him three rushing touchdowns for the game. He 110 yards and an interception.
His counterpart, Wisconsin’s Jack Coan completed 23 of 35 for 186 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
The game had a number of questionable calls, none more so than a 3rd-and-6 play in the final four minutes. Coan found tight end Jake Ferguson for a 9-yard gain. But Davis was called for offensive pass interference as he locked up with a defender near bye.
It left the Badgers with a third and 20 and in effect stalled the drive.
After the Badgers punted, they couldn’t get a stop as the Ducks picked up a pair of first downs to secure the victory.
As for the turnovers and missed opportunities, Chryst said, “Huge. You lose by one point and those are missed opportunities. And yet you’ve got to keep finding ways and we didn’t. All those are big.
“We didn’t overcome ourselves.”
The Badgers ended their season at 10-4, while Oregon improved to 12-2, reaching 12 wins for the fifth time in program history.