Quarterback Justin Herbert ran for three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score midway through the fourth quarter, leading Oregon to a 28-27 victory over Wisconsin in the 106th Rose Bowl Game Wednesday.
In a game with four lead changes, Herbert ran 30 yards for a touchdown with seven minutes, 41 seconds to play, one play after Brady Breeze forced a fumble by Badgers receiver Danny Davis on a reverse, with Bryson Young recovering the ball.
Wisconsin had two possessions after the go-ahead touchdown. The Badgers were forced to punt after six plays on the first. They got the ball back at their own 24-yard line with 4:01 remaining. Wisconsin appeared to pick up a first down on Jack Coan’s 9-yard pass to Jake Ferguson, but the play was nullified because of an offensive pass interference penalty against Davis.
Coan’s pass on third-and-20 was incomplete, forcing another punt.
The Ducks (11-2) ran out the final 2:38, sealing the victory on Herbert’s longest pass of the game, a 28-yard completion to Juwan Johnson for a first down on the Badgers’ 9-yard line.
Herbert was selected as the offensive player of the game. He also ran 4 yards for a touchdown on the opening drive and 5 yards for a score with 3:16 left in the first half, three plays after Thomas Graham Jr. intercepted a pass by Coan at Oregon’s 43-yard line and returned the ball 24 yards to Wisconsin’s 33-yard line.
Herbert completed 14 of 20 passes for 138 yards with one interception and was sacked twice and ran for 29 yards on nine carries, including 15 yards lost on sacks.
Breeze was chosen as the defensive player of the game. He recovered a fumble by Badger punter Anthony Lotti and ran 31 yards for a touchdown with 11:57 left in the third quarter to give the Ducks a 21-17 lead. The junior safety also made a game-high 11 tackles.
Oregon was outgained 322 yards to 204, the lowest total in a Rose Bowl Game since 1979 when USC had 157 in a 17-10 victory over Michigan. Wisconsin led 18-13 in first downs and 38:03-21:57 in time of possession, including a 13:09-1:51 lead in the third quarter when they had six first downs to none for the Ducks.
Both teams scored seven points in the third quarter. The Badgers’ touchdown came on Mason Stokke’s 2-yard run on a fourth-and-1 play with 4:53 remaining in the quarter, giving it a 24-21 lead.
Wisconsin (10-4) increased its lead to 27-21 on its next possession on Collin Larsh’s 27-yard field goal with 12:09 left in the fourth quarter.
Coan completed 23 of 35 passes for 186 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to Quintez Cephus 11 seconds before halftime that gave the Badgers a 17-14 lead. He had one pass intercepted.
Cephus’ touchdown came eight plays after Aaron Cruickshank’s 47-yard kickoff return.
Cruickshank returned a first-quarter kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, tying the score, 7-7. It was the third kickoff return for a touchdown in Rose Bowl Game history. The others came in 2003 by Sammy Moore of Washington State and UCLA’s Al Hoisch in 1947.
Wisconsin took its first lead on Larsh’s 44-yard field goal with 8:05 left in the first quarter, three plays after Jack Sanborn intercepted a pass by Herbert at Oregon’s 27-yard line.
Badgers standout junior running back Jonathan Taylor ran for a game-high 94 yards on 21 carries, giving him 2,003 for the season, the third Football Bowl Subdivision player to record multiple 2,000-yard seasons.
Taylor’s 6,174 yards are the most by a player through his junior season in FBS history. He also holds the FBS records for rushing yards by a freshman (1,977), rushing yards by a sophomore (2,194) and rushing yards by a player through his sophomore season (4,171).
The Big Ten has lost six of its last eight Rose Bowl appearances.
This was the 10th Rose Bowl Game decided by one point, the first since Texas’ 38-37 victory over Michigan in 2005.
Wisconsin has lost in each of its last four Rose Bowl appearances including a 45-38 loss to Oregon in the 2012 game. It is 3-7 in college football’s oldest bowl game.
The Ducks won their third consecutive Rose Bowl appearance, evening its record in the game to 4-4.
Oregon was ranked seventh in The Associated Press’ final regular-season poll released Dec. 8, four spots ahead of the Badgers.