Ron Dayne ran for 246 yards and FOUR touchdowns,to help his team earn an impressive victory 38-31 over UCLA in the 85th Rose Bowl game on Friday.
The game was packed full of action from start to finish. Between Dayne's 246 rushing yards, and UCLA'S Quarterback Cade Mcnown's 340 yards passing, the Badgers and Bruins combined for a Rose Bowl record 1035 total ofensive yardage. It was anticipated and predicted by myself in a colum earlier this week, that Dayne could very well have a BIG day and helplead the Badgers to a victory. And sure enough..... from Dayne's first carry of the day which was good for ten yards, right up to his fourth touchdown and uch more, the Badger's offense controlled the tempo.
It became very clear in the first quarter on the Badgers first carry, that UCLA would NOT be able to stop the Dayne train. Dayne's first three carries were for gains of 10-7-and 8 yards. Both teams failed to produce any points on their first possessions. However..... on the Badgers next possession they would hit pay dirt for the first time on the afternoon.On a second and six, Mike Samuel would connect on the first of his nine passes for the day, when he found Cecil Martin open in the flats, and Martin gained 17 yards to give the Badgers a first down at the 46. Next it was Dayne's turn to shine..... he cut left and ran 54 yards for the first TOUCHDOWN of the day.Following Davenport's PAT, the Badgers led 7-0. UCLA came right back on their next series.....McNown threw a pass to his favorite receiver Danny Farmer for a big gain, and then hit Jermaine Lewis on a 38 yard pass for a UCLA touchdown.
The first quarter ended tied at 7-7.
In the second quarter, Ron Dayne would score his SECOND TOUCHDOWN of the game, as he a short seven yards, capping off a 10 play-85 yard drive, that would give the Badgers a 14-7 lead.But the potent UCLA offense stormed right back, and VERY fast. Cade McNown pitched the ball for a reverse that went to Freddie Mitchell....Mitchell then threw a beautiful pass 61 yards down field into the arms of Durrell Price. Following the PAT, the game was tied at 14-14. The scoring drive covered 65 yards i just TWO plays. The Badgers offense went into a slump, and were forced to kick back to UCLA. When the Bruins got the ball back, McNown struck again. Facing a third and seven, McNown elected to keep the ball,and ran it for a 14 yard gain to give hhis team a first down at the 27. Later in the drive, McNown went to the air again, and completed a pass of 40 yards to Farmer for a touchdown. It capped off a long drive of 90 yards in just five plays. the Bruins at this point took a 21-14 lead, and what appeared to be at that time control of the game.
BUT...... the Badgers came right back!!! Ron Dayne dominated the drive. He gained 36 yards on just one carry, which got the Badgers inside the ten. Next he ran in for another TOUCHDOWN( his third of the day). Davenport kicked the PAT and the Badgers were tied at 21-21. Just before the end of the half.....the Badgers offense would regain control of the game, behind the leadership of Samuel who ran a play for a gain of 18 yards. With time runningout, the Badgers worked down the clock, and allowed Davenport to kick a 40 yard field goal, to give the Badgers a 24-21 lead at halftime.
The Badgers received the second half kickoff, and took advantage of the possession. They went 89 yards-in seven plays and scored a TOUCHDOWN when Dayne found the endzone for the FOURTH time. The Badgers extended the lead to 31-21, and at that point had the Bruins running scared.
However......Despite a HUGE rash of Badger fans rattling McNown managed to hit a big pass gainer to Brad Melsby which set up the Bruins at the 40. Jermaine Lewis capped off the drive, with a 10 yard run for a touchdown. With just over for minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Badgers still led 31-28.
The fate for UCLA was sealed and their coffin was nailed shut with a loss, in the fourth quarter, when Freshman cornerback Jamar Fletcher intercepted a pass from McNown, and ran it back UNTOUCHED 47 yards for a TOUCHDOWN, with still most of the quarter to go(14:05). However the Badgers were in control at 38-28. UCLA got the final score of the day,on a 30 yard field goal with 6:05 left to cut the lead to 38-31. Late in the game, McNown had the Bruins on the move again, and poised to score.BUT the Badger DEFENSE played their BEST series of the ENTIRE SEASON.They forced McNown out of the pocket several times, and into pass completions. With no tie outs reamining, McNown went to pass on fourth down and out of no-where Badger defensive tackle....Wendall Bryant( a freshman) broke thew and SACKED McNown!!!!
Overall.....the game was a TREMENDOUS victory both o and off the field for the Badgers. Off the field, credit goes to the rabid Badger fans, who in the third quarter, when UCLA was driving for a score, with a first goal at the six.The Badger fans were sooooooo LOUD the McNown was forced to call a time-out. Then after that, McNown tried to yell out the play sgnals, but his team couldn't hear him, because AGAIN.....the Badger fans were LOUD. the exchange for a handoff, NEVER ocurred, The Bruins FUMBLED and Chris Ghidorzi fell on the ball.
UCLA was EMBARASSED on their " home field" for the second time in five years, as the Badgers leave town with another victory.
With the victory....the BADGERS have now won four of their last five bowl games toimprove the overall record to 5-6.
The Badgers are now 2-3 in the Rose Bowl. Both wins with Alvarez as coach.
YES UCLA.....You were right. You SHOULD NOT have played in the Rose Bowl this year. Nor should you have been in the Fiesta bowl.
Next up for Badger football..... a return trip to Pasadena in 2000 for an appearance in the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME for college football!!!!!!
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