Hogan starts the payoff quarter with a decisive pull and sprint up the middle on what looked to be a designed rollout. It’s a first down at the Cardinal 31 on a 13-yard gain. He then overshoots Ty Montgomery, who had half a step, on the ensuing first down. On second down, Stanford’s wildcat formation reverts to its traditional results, with Anthony Wilkerson running circles in the backfield before being dropped for a five-yard loss. Taylor does get 12 on a third-down dumpoff, so that second-down loss was decisive. Ronnie Harris appears to draw a block in the back on the return that is waived off, but nonetheless, that’s a 48-yard net punt for Daniel Zychlinski, today’s dark-horse MVP. Wisconsin will start from their 14 with 12:42 to go.
And now the game turns, as Stanford starts to pick up yardage on the ground for the first time since the game’s opening drives. This drive, however, Stanford’s success is not coming because of a lack of Wisconsin familiarity, but rather due to too much Wisconsin familiarity entirely – Stanford’s big bodies up front have leaned on the Badgers for long enough that the Big Ten’s finest are starting to bend. All of a sudden, Kevin Hogan has time for his passes and the opportunity to benefit from good starting field position on the drive, courtesy a kick-catch interference call on the Badgers.
Starting at his 44, Taylor starts the drive with runs for nine and then two. Hogan finds Ertz for nine and then Montgomery for six, though that play is called back for an illegal block downfield on Kevin Danser. Hogan converts the resulting second and five with a 12-yard scamper, before Taylor runs for eight, and then one. Then, after Taylor’s thunder, it’s time for lightning on third and one from the Wisconsin 19. Anthony Wilkerson gets to the left corner for eight yards, and we’re under six minutes with a fresh set of Stanford downs in the red zone. Taylor loses a yard before gaining seven, and now we’re under five minutes left with third and not-quite goal from the Stanford five. Hogan has Toilolo open, and not too many things are too tall for the 6-foot-8 Toilolo, but Hogan’s ball is one of them. Still, a 22-yard Williamson kick is good and Stanford just went 66 yards in 12 plays over 6:22. Wisconsin’s margin for error is quickly evaporating, though the door is still open.
Stanford 20, Wisconsin 14, 4:23 left
After a Stanford touchback, Melvin Gordon, the No. 3 guy, bounces off a defender to get to the left sideline for 11 yards. Ball follows with four yards to pull the Badgers to their 40 with 3:30 to go. It’s Gordon again for five as the clock ticks near three minutes and Wisconsin faces third and one at their 45. Even if they do move the chains, time is going to become an issue soon. Sure enough, Wisconsin does convert, but only after picking up a yard up the middle, as the clock will be near 2:30 come the next snap.
At their 46, Wisconsin is now starting to pass out of necessity, but a five-yard dumpoff stays in bounds and keeps the clock moving. Then comes the dagger. Usua Amanam jumps an underneath dig route for the game’s first interception. Phillips telegraphed the throw, never saw Amanam, and had Trent Murphy fast closing out on him. Stanford now has to run out 2:03 and two Wisconsin timeouts.
Stanford 20, Wisconsin 14, 2:03 left
Taylor picks up two as Wisconsin elects to let the clock tick under 1:20. On second and eight, Taylor meets contact four yards after the line but keeps chugging for another three, pulling Stanford to a third and one with a minute left. As the Badgers only have one timeout left, a first down here – one measly yard – will win Stanford the Rose Bowl!
Fittingly, Stanford ran a derivative of power on the final contested snap of the 2013 Rose Bowl. A lineman pulled right to left, and needing one yard, Stepfan Taylor burst through a loaded front to find himself with five before he fell down, both hands on the ball.
The clock counts down to zero in a now-dark Pasadena and cheers erupt as that final mark ticks off the scoreboard. Confetti flies. Camera flashes go off and giant Stanford flags wave near midfield. The dollies and cheerleaders dance as a spirited Stanford band plays “All Right Now” behind the Cardinal end zone. Never have the Stanford fans sung along so vociferously; never has the simple chant of “Five, six, seven, eight” reverberated with such life through the stadium’s every last section.
Wisconsin fans have cleared out and the confetti has settled, but chants of “Let’s Go Stanford” continue to ring out, 50,000 strong. For the first time in 40 years, your Stanford Cardinal have won the Rose Bowl.
Stanford 20, Wisconsin 14 (Final)
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