The Stanford Cardinal built an early lead and picked up a timely interception to hold off the Wisconsin Badgers 20-14 Tuesday, winning the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1971.
After a Jordan Williamson 22-yard field goal gave the Cardinal a 20-14 lead with less than five minutes to play, Wisconsin drove to midfield before Stanford nickel back Usua Amanam jumped a Curt Phillips pass for the interception with 2:20 remaining.
The Cardinal then put the ball in the hands of running back Stepfan Taylor, who proceeded to do what he has all season for Stanford. He iced the game with a crucial five-yard run on third-and-1 and less than a minute left. Taylor finished with 88 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries, and quarterback Kevin Hogan added 54 yards on seven rushes.
Hogan completed 12 of 19 passes for 123 yards in a game plan that turned significantly conservative after Stanford used some trickery early to build a quick lead.
The Cardinal scored on its first drive on a Kelsey Young 16-yard touchdown run -- the third straight year that Wisconsin allowed a touchdown on the opposition's first offensive drive in the Rose Bowl -- then added another score on Taylor's 3-yard run less than five minutes later.
Wisconsin stormed back in the second quarter behind Montee Ball, who amassed 87 rushing yards in the first half. The Badgers trimmed the Stanford advantage to 17-14 at the half but gained no ground in a third quarter in which neither team scored.
Ball finished with 99 yards on 24 carries, while Phillips ended 10-for-16 for 82 yards and a touchdown and an interception.
Phillips added 64 yards on five carries, and Melvin Gordon gained 62 yards on eight carries for Wisconsin.
Back in Madison
Hundreds of Badger fans cheered on the team from the UW-Madison campus Tuesday.
Union South hosted a Rose Bowl watch party, and Dave Fodroczi and his wife stopped by on their way home to Hudson, Wis.
"I'd rather be in Pasadena but this is the only place we can be," said Fodroczi, who was driving back from a holiday visit to Indiana. "We had to come through Madison on our way home and we couldn't think of a better place to be to watch the Rose Bowl than Union South."
The alumni band played, while kids and adults alike took in the game and enjoyed food and drinks.
"This is my first time coming to a big university, so this is a big experience for me and I'm really excited to watch the game," said Stefanie Buxel-Florenzen, a UW graduate student from Washington. She brought her infant to the party, although he probably won't remember it.
"When it gets really loud, he jerks and he's cried a couple times but he's sleeping and he's relaxing," she said.
Both teams appeared in the 24th bowl game in program history, and their records are eerily similar: Stanford is 11-12-1, Wisconsin 11-13. ... With the loss, the Badgers' senior class finishes tied with the Class of '07 as the winningest in team history at 40-13. ... Stanford held 10 of its 14 opponents to 17 points or fewer. ... Wisconsin won four of the first five matchups between the schools, tying the other, including a 17-9 win in the 2000 Rose Bowl. ... The matchup pitted two prolific running backs, as Ball and Taylor combined for the most career yards in Rose Bowl history by opposing starting running backs (9,252), a year after Ball and Oregon's LaMichael James set the record at 8,069 yards.
The Badgers (8-6) failed to avenge tight losses the last two years in Pasadena.
This time, they got shut out in the second half as the first five-loss team to reach the Rose Bowl