When last we left you on our countdown of the good, the bad, and the ugly that was the year of 2012 in Badger sports, we were talking about arguably the ugliest story of the year - Montee Ball being attacked by 5 people back in late July - which came in at No. 6 in our countdown.
Unfortunately today we're continuing the misery of remembering bad things that happened in 2012 and that's because we're talking about the craptacular way 2012 got kicked off, you know that whole Rose Bowl game against Oregon and all.
Perhaps it was only fitting since 2011 was about as heartbreaking a season as one can remember, at least in most of our lifetimes. After all, it's pretty hard to swallow the fact that we were a crazy pass from Braxton Miller and a disputed at best Hail Mary at Michigan State away from playing for the national championship.... Not that we're bitter still or anything? NAH....
What Happened: Wisconsin went in against the high powered Oregon Ducks for their 2nd straight Rose Bowl appearance and most thought the Badgers would be blown out of the water (pardon the pun), however that wasn't what was to happen. Instead Montee Ball, Russell Wilson, Nick Toon, and Jared Abbrederis did their level best to keep pace with their own high powered offense.
For most of the game UW kept pace with the Ducks, but after going up 35-28 things flipped around on Bucky. Wisconsin allowed two unanswered touchdowns in just over 1 minute on either side of the halftime break, flipping the lead in favor of Oregon for the first time all game long at 35-28.
Wisconsin responded with a field goal and a touchdown of their own to go up 38-35 with 4:40 left in the 3rd quarter. The scoring slowed down a bit, but unfortunately for Wisconsin Darron Thomas continued to stay hot and hit Lavasier Tuinei for yet another touchdown in the 1st minute of the 4th quarter. That pushed the Ducks to the lead at 42-38.
Oregon would add a field goal to go up 45-38 and making Wisconsin have to put the ball in the endzone and that's when all things went ass-backwards.
As Wisconsin was driving for what appeared to be the game tying TD there was the one in one billionth bounce, or lack thereof, as Jared Abbrederis fumbled a ball literally right next to the sideline, killing the Badgers drive with just over 4 minutes left.
Wisconsin's defense did it's job, holding the Ducks out of the endzone and out of field goal position. That's when Russell Wilson worked his magic, completing a 29 yard pass to Jared Abbrederis and a 33 yarder to Nick Toon to get the Badgers down to the Ducks' 25 yard line with just :02 left on the clock.... Plenty of time for a spike and a last second heave towards the endzone, right?
Ahh, that's when it happened again... The ref decided to windmill his arm before blowing his whistle to start the clock and Wilson was a second too late as time expired and the game ended. It was just another dagger to the heart of Badger nation as we were cheated out of an opportunity to win the Rose Bowl after being cheated out of a game earlier in the year.
In the end the Badgers were on the losing end of a game that will go down in history as one of the single greatest Rose Bowl's ever played... A feat they've accomplished three times as losers in the Rose Bowl (2011 & 1963).
Why it's in this spot: This was a bitter pill to swallow, especially since most of us still have nightmares, and slow motion ones at that, of Jared Abbrederis' one mistake in his career and the fact that the ball just sat down right next to the sideline instead of bouncing out like every other ball ever fumbled near the sideline would've bounced.
I feel bad bringing it up, but it was seriously one of the best Rose Bowl games of all-time and if you need proof as to why, check out the records set in this one:
- Most Points scored in 1st Half of Rose Bowl (Both teams): 56 points
- Longest Rushing TD in Rose Bowl: 91 yd De'Anthony Thomas (Oregon)
- Most Points scored in regulation in Rose Bowl (Both teams): 83 points
- Most Rushing TD over 60 yds in Rose Bowl: 2 TDs De'Anthony Thomas (Oregon)
- Most First Downs in Rose Bowl (Both teams): 45