Oregon powers past Wisconsin in Rose Bowl

Posted Jan. 02, 2012, at 8:34 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 02, 2012, at 9:33 p.m.

PASADENA, Calif. — Oregon’s incredible offense busted up Wisconsin and the record books on the way to the Ducks’ first Rose Bowl victory in 95 years.

Darron Thomas passed for three touchdowns, De’Anthony Thomas scored on runs of 91 and 64 yards, and the No. 6 Ducks earned their first bowl victory under coach Chip Kelly, holding off Wisconsin 45-38 Monday night in the highest-scoring Rose Bowl ever played.

And it wasn’t over until a video review confirmed the Badgers (11-3) ran out of time at the Oregon 25, out of timeouts and unable to spike the ball in time to stop the clock for a last-gasp fling.

Lavasier Tuinei caught eight passes for 158 yards and two TDs for the Ducks (12-2), who had no postseason success to show for Kelly’s otherwise wildly successful three-year tenure until this landmark offensive performance in the 98th Rose Bowl. Oregon hadn’t won the West Coast’s biggest game since 1917.

“It’s been 95 years since you could say: Oregon Ducks, Rose Bowl champions,” Kelly said after the Ducks held Wisconsin scoreless in the fourth quarter.

The Granddaddy of Them All had never seen this many points, beating the record 80 scored by Washington and Iowa in 1991.

With the Ducks wearing mirrored helmets and playing at their usual frantic pace, Oregon racked up 621 total yards, just shy of the Rose Bowl record.

Montee Ball rushed for 122 of his 164 yards in the first half for the Badgers (11-3), who lost the Rose Bowl for the second straight year despite managing 508 yards of their own. Ball tied Barry Sanders’ FBS record with his 39th touchdown of the season, while Russell Wilson passed for 296 yards and two scores.

“This team showed what Oregon football is all about,” said linebacker Kiko Alonso, named the game’s top defensive player after getting a key interception.

Wisconsin had two drives to tie it after Oregon kicked a field goal with 6:50 to play, but Jared Abbrederis fumbled near the Oregon sideline after making a long catch. The ball plopped onto the turf without even bouncing, and Oregon’s Michael Clay jumped on it with 4:06 left.

OUTBACK BOWL

Michigan St. 33, Georgia 30

TAMPA, Fla. — Kirk Cousins threw for 300 yards and one touchdown and Dan Conroy kicked a 28-yard field goal in the third overtime, giving No. 12 Michigan State a 33-30 victory over No. 18 Georgia in the Outback Bowl on Monday.

Georgia’s Blair Walsh became the Southeastern Conference’s career scoring leader with a field goal in the second extra period. But he missed a 42-yarder in the first overtime after conservative play-calling and had a 47-yard attempt blocked on the final play of the game.

Michigan State (11-3) ended a five-game bowl losing streak with its first postseason win since beating Fresno State in the 2001 Silicon Valley Bowl. Georgia (10-4) finished on a two-game losing streak, including a lopsided loss to top-ranked LSU in the SEC championship game.

TICKETCITY BOWL

Houston 30, Penn State 14

DALLAS — Penn State’s tumultuous year ended with a loss, a dispiriting finish to a season in which coach Joe Paterno was fired as part of a child sex-abuse scandal that shook college sports.

The Nittany Lions were picked apart by Cougars star Case Keenum, who threw for 532 yards and three touchdowns. Penn State was allowing 162 yards passing per game, but Keenum threw for more than double that by halftime.

He burned the Nittany Lions’ veteran secondary with touchdown passes of 40 and 75 yards to build a 24-7 lead by halftime.

It was the school’s first bowl game without Paterno as head coach since the 1962 Gator Bowl, a 17-7 loss to Florida.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL

South Carolina 30, Nebraska 13

ORLANDO, Fla. — Connor Shaw threw two touchdown passes and ran for a score, and South Carolina had six sacks as the Gamecocks shut out Nebraska over the final three quarters.

The victory gave South Carolina 11 wins for the first time in school history and snapped a string of three straight bowl losses.

Nebraska lost its second consecutive bowl game and drops to 12-6 all-time in bowl matchups against SEC foes.

Both teams lost standout players in the third quarter when Gamecocks’ leading receiver Alshon Jeffrey and Cornhuskers’ cornerback Alfonso Dennard were ejected for a post-play skirmish in which both players threw punches.

Jeffrey had four catches for 148 yards and a touchdown.

GATOR BOWL

Florida 24, Ohio State 17

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Andre Debose returned a kickoff 99 yards — the longest scoring play in Gator Bowl history — and Chris Rainey blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown Florida.

The speedsters helped the Gators (7-6) avoid their first losing season since 1979 and pick up some much-needed momentum after losing six of their previous eight games.

Ohio State (6-7) finished below .500 for the first time since 1986. The Buckeyes can take solace in knowing that former Florida coach Urban Meyer, who officially takes over at Ohio State this week, will make it a priority to improve special teams. He did that in his six seasons in Gainesville, and Rainey and Debose were two of his most prized recruits.

Ohio State fell to 0-10 in bowl games against teams from the Southeastern Conference. Yes, the Buckeyes beat Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl last year. But that victory was vacated.

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