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.
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.
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.
That video review went the Ducks’ way, too.
The Badgers had burned two timeouts early in the second half, so Oregon was able to run the clock down to 23 seconds before punting.
Wilson connected on two long passes, but the officials went to video review after the clock went to zeros as Wilson rushed his team to the Oregon 25 with 2 seconds left, waited for the ball to be set, then took the snap and spiked the ball.
But the Badgers took too long. The officials ruled time had indeed expired, and the Ducks sprinted onto the field to the frenzied cheers of their outnumbered fans.
The Ducks and Badgers produced the highest-scoring first quarter (14-14) and first half (28-28) in Rose Bowl history, eventually surpassing the 80 scored in Washington’s 46-34 win over Iowa in 1991. Oregon’s yardage fell just short of USC’s 633 yards against Illinois in 2008.
The Ducks’ flashiest star in those futuristic helmets was De’Anthony Thomas, the freshman from Los Angeles who showed off his electrifying athleticism on the longest scoring run in Rose Bowl history in the second quarter, going 91 yards up the middle. He added a mere 64-yard scoring run in the opening minute of the second half.