PASADENA, Calif. -- Although Stanford didn’t score many style points in the 99th Rose Bowl, the Cardinal could celebrate because they didn’t let Wisconsin score any points at all after halftime.
Stepfan Taylor rushed for 89 yards and an early touchdown, Kevin Hogan passed for 123 yards, and No. 8 Stanford won its first Rose Bowl since 1972, beating the Badgers 20-14 on Tuesday night.
Usua Amanam made the decisive interception near midfield with 2:30 to play as the Pac-12 champion Cardinal (12-2) ended their four-decade drought in the Granddaddy of Them All with arguably the biggest bowl win yet during the long-struggling program’s recent renaissance.
Stanford clamped down on the Big Ten champion Badgers (8-6), who lost the Rose Bowl in heartbreaking fashion for the third consecutive season. Montee Ball rushed for 100 yards and his FBS-record 83rd touchdown, but Wisconsin managed only 82 yards after halftime.
With impressive defense of its own, Wisconsin still stayed in position for an upset in the one-game return of Hall of Fame coach Barry Alvarez, who was back on the Badgers’ sideline in his red sweater-vest seven years after hanging up his whistle.
When Bret Bielema abruptly left Wisconsin for Arkansas after winning the Big Ten title game, Alvarez agreed to coach his fourth Rose Bowl before handing off his program to new coach Gary Andersen, who met with Alvarez on the field before the game.
But the Badgers’ third straight Rose Bowl appearance ended in much the same way as the last two: With the Wisconsin offense failing to get the late score they desperately needed.
Curt Phillips went 10 for 16 for 83 yards passing and that crucial interception for Wisconsin, doing more with 64 yards on the ground. Jordan Fredrick caught a short TD pass right before halftime, but no Badgers receiver had more than Jared Abbrederis’ three catches.
And though Ball became the first player to score touchdowns in three Rose Bowls, the powerful back fell short of Ron Dayne’s career Rose Bowl rushing record, swarmed under by waves of tacklers from one of the toughest defenses in the nation.
Kelsey Young rushed for a score on Stanford’s opening possession, and Taylor scored on the second. Wisconsin kept the Cardinal out of the end zone for the final 51 minutes, but Stanford’s defense didn’t need any more help.
Stanford won its first conference title and earned its first Rose Bowl appearance in 13 years with seven straight wins. The Cardinal ousted top-ranked Oregon on the way to the biggest season yet in the improbable surge of success started by Jim Harbaugh and Andrew Luck, and extended by coach David Shaw and Hogan, who took over as the starter in November.
Wisconsin returned to Pasadena in a much more roundabout way as the first five-loss team to make it, losing three overtime games and making the Big Ten title game only because Ohio State and Penn State were ineligible. The Badgers then steamrolled Nebraska to become the first Big Ten team in three straight Rose Bowls since Michigan in the late 1970s.
The Cardinal led 14-0 on Taylor’s 3-yard TD run just 8 1/2 minutes in, but Wisconsin finally got rolling behind Ball, who rushed for 296 yards in his first two Rose Bowls. Stanford stopped James White inside the 1 on fourth down early in the second quarter after a touchdown run by Ball was wiped out by a holding penalty, but Ball scored on the next drive.
The Badgers then mounted an 85-yard drive in the waning 2 1/2 minutes of the first half, with Phillips’ 38-yard run setting up Fredrick’s short TD catch to trim Stanford’s halftime lead to 17-14.
After halftime adjustments, both defenses dominated the scoreless third quarter, allowing just three combined first downs.
Wisconsin’s personal foul on a fair-catch punt return finally sparked Stanford early in the fourth quarter. Stanford got inside the Wisconsin 5 before stalling, and Jordan Williamson’s short field goal put the Cardinal up by six points with 4:23 to go.
The Badgers got to midfield, but Phillips threw behind Jacob Pedersen, and Amanam easily made the pick.
CAPITAL ONE BOWL
GEORGIA 45, NEBRASKA 31
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Aaron Murray threw five touchdown passes to set a Georgia bowl record, including two in the fourth quarter, and the sixth-ranked Bulldogs beat No. 23 Nebraska 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl on Tuesday.
Murray shook off a pair of first-half interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and passed for 427 yards -- also a Bulldogs bowl record -- against the nation’s top-ranked passing defense. He was named the game’s most valuable player.
Georgia (12-2) reached 12 wins for the third time in school history.
Nebraska (10-4) lost its third consecutive bowl game, and finished the season with two straight woeful defensive performances. The Cornhuskers lost the Big Ten championship game 70-31.
The Cornhuskers led 24-23 at the half, but committed two of their three turnovers in the final 30 minutes. Taylor Martinez had two interceptions and two touchdown passes for Nebraska and Rex Burkhead rushed for 140 yards in his final college game.
Nebraska’s offense finished with 443 total yards, but the Bulldogs defense was stingy when it needed to be. They sacked Martinez five times, with All-American linebacker Jarvis Jones notching two. Damian Swann had both Georgia interceptions.
NO. 11 SOUTH CAROLINA 33, NO. 19 MICHIGAN 28
TAMPA, Fla. -- Connor Shaw led South Carolina to the brink of victory and Dylan Thompson carried the Gamecocks over the hump in the Outback Bowl.
Thompson came off the bench to throw a 32-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left Tuesday, enabling South Carolina to tie a school record for victories with a 33-28 win over No. 19 Michigan.
Thompson replaced Shaw during the winning drive, covering the final 43 yards after Shaw began the march from his own 30. Devin Gardner’s third TD pass of the game had given Michigan a 28-27 lead.
Shaw threw for 227 yards and two touchdowns after missing South Carolina’s regular season finale with a left foot sprain. Thompson led the Gamecocks (11-2) to a victory over their archrival, and threw for 117 yards and two TDs.
Gardner threw for 214 yards in his fifth start for Michigan (8-5) since Denard Robinson injured his right elbow late in the season. Robinson took some snaps at quarterback and attempted his first passes since Oct. 27, but lined up mostly at running back and rushed for 100 yards on 23 carries.
Ace Sanders caught TD passes of 4 yards from Thompson and 31 yards from Shaw, who completed 18 of 26 passes before limping off on the final drive. The speedy receiver had nine catches for 92 yards and also scored on a 63-yard punt return -- one of four plays over 50 yards that Michigan yielded.
NO. 21 NORTHWESTERN 34, MISSISSIPPI ST. 20
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Behind huge interceptions early and late, Northwestern beat Mississippi State 34-20 in the Gator Bowl and snapped college football’s longest postseason losing streak.
The Wildcats (10-3) earned their first bowl win since 1949, ending a nine-game losing skid that was tied for the longest in NCAA history. They also celebrated double-digit victories for the first time since the 1995 Rose Bowl season.
Quentin Williams returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown on the third play of the game and Nick Vanhoose set up a late touchdown with a 39-yard interception return. Those plays were the difference in a back-and-forth game that featured more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six).
Northwestern’s two-quarterback system kept the Bulldogs (8-5) off balance most of the day.
Scrambler Kain Colter ran for 71 yards, making up for his two interceptions. Backup Trevor Siemian threw for 120 yards and an interception, and also ran for a score.
Even with the turnovers, they were more efficient than Mississippi State’s Tyler Russell.
Russell completed 12 of 28 passes for 106 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He had thrown only six picks in the first 11 games this season. LaDarius Perkins ran 19 times for 84 yards for the Bulldogs, and freshman Josh Robinson added 91 yards on seven carries.
HEART OF DALLAS BOWL
OKLAHOMA STATE 58,
DALLAS -- Clint Chelf threw three of Oklahoma State’s five touchdown passes and the Cowboys shook off a disappointing Big 12 finish by dominating Purdue 58-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
The Cowboys, a year removed from a Fiesta Bowl win that capped the best season in school history, forced five turnovers and had another short TD drive after a 64-yard punt return from Josh Stewart.
It was the biggest bowl win for Oklahoma State since coach Mike Gundy was the quarterback in a 62-14 rout of Wyoming in the 1988 Holiday Bowl. The Cowboys (8-5) missed out on upper-tier bowls after narrow losses in their last two Big 12 games.
With former Purdue quarterbacks Drew Brees and Kyle Orton watching, Robert Marve didn’t get to 100 yards passing until Oklahoma State led 45-0 as Purdue (6-7) fell to 0-4 on New Year’s Day.
Leading 28-0 at halftime, Oklahoma State erased any lingering doubt three plays into the second half when Justin Gilbert stripped Purdue receiver O.J. Ross on a short completion. The loose ball shot straight to Daytawion Lowe, who ran 37 yards down the sideline in front of the Purdue bench for a 35-0 lead.
Oklahoma State’s 58 points were the most in a bowl game at historic Cotton Bowl Stadium, topping the 55 scored by Keyshawn Johnson and Southern California against Texas Tech in 1995.