What started out as an offensive onslaught in the first quarter, and then became a defensive battle in the second half, No. 8 Stanford (12-2) took the victory in the end by beating unranked Wisconsin (8-6), 20-14, at the 2013 Rose Bowl game in Pasadena.
This was Stanford’s first Rose Bowl win since 1972 and Wisconsin’s third loss in three years.
The Cardinal got a jump on the Badgers with two quick touchdowns in the first quarter, led by quarterback Kevin Hogan. Running back Kelsey Young scored on a 16 yard run and then running back and Offensive Player of the Game Stefan Taylor scored on a three yard run. Taylor, playing in his last collegiate game, rushed for 88 yards.
But the Badgers rallied in the final nine minutes to make it 17-14 at halftime. Star running back, Montee Ball, also the N.C.C.A. record-holder for career touchdowns (83), scored the first touchdown and would end the game rushing for 100 yards on 24 carries. Then quarterback Curt Phillips hit Jordan Fredrick on a four-yard touchdown pass, giving the Badgers momentum heading into the second half.
The teams forced each other to punt seven times while recording just three first downs in the third quarter.
“It was two heavyweight fighters,” Cardinal linebacker A.J. Tarpley said. “They easily could have quit when they were down 14-0 early but they came right back at us. We expected a close game.”
The Badgers had a chance to win on their final possession. Melvin Gordon, Ball and James White took turns running the ball before Phillips hit Kenzel Doe with a five-yard pass at the Stanford 42-yard line.
“I just felt like maybe we were a team of destiny,” Badgers Coach Barry Alvarez said. “I just felt like somehow we were going to find a way to score.”
On the next play, driving near midfield, Phillips’ pass was tipped and intercepted by nickelback Usua Amanam with a little over two minutes left in the game, which would seal the deal for Stanford.
“It’s heartbreaking,” linebacker Chris Borland said. “Like Coach said earlier, it’s kind of been a microcosm of our whole season. We’ve faced some adversity, fought back, and came up short.”
But I’m sure the best view was that of Stanford Coach David Shaw, all smiles, as he saw his reflection in the trophy as his victorious team rallied behind him.