Wisconsin Badgers vs Oregon Ducks
When: 5:00 PM ET, Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
ROSE BOWL GAME PRESENTED BY NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL
- Wisconsin spent the early part of this decade coming up just short in bowl games and the last half of it making up for those difficult setbacks. The 11th-ranked Badgers enter their New Year’s Day showdown at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., against No. 6 Oregon in search of a sixth straight bowl victory – a winning streak that followed a four-game postseason skid. Three of those defeats came by one score in succession at the Rose Bowl from 2010-12, including a 45-38 loss to the Ducks on Jan. 2, 2012.
- Badgers junior Jonathan Taylor ranks sixth all-time with 6,080 career rushing yards and could be playing his final college game as he wrestles with the decision to turn pro. Entering the postseason, the two-time Doak Walker Award winner needs to outrush Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard by 28 yards to become the first player since Texas’ Ricky Williams to lead the country in rushing in back-to-back years. He also finds himself 91 yards away from joining former Iowa State great Troy Davis as the only players in FBS history to run for 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons.
- Oregon’s Justin Herbert heads into his final college game as the nation’s active leader with 95 career touchdown passes – the sixth-best mark in Pac-12 history. The Campbell Trophy winner turned down a chance to be a high first-round pick in the NFL Draft last winter in order to spend one more year bringing the program he watched as a kid back to national prominence. Herbert can become only the third quarterback in the last 100 years to lead the Ducks to a Rose Bowl win with a victory over Wisconsin.
TV: 5 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Wisconsin -2.5
ABOUT WISCONSIN (10-3): Junior quarterback Jack Coan (2,541 passing yards, 17 TDs, four interceptions) owns the third-best passer rating in the Big Ten (156.11) and is ranked eighth in FBS in completion percentage (70.1). Junior wideout Quintez Cephus (team-high marks of 52 catches, 842 receiving yards and six receiving TDs) turned it on over Wisconsin’s final two games, combining for 12 receptions and 236 yards against No. 16 Minnesota and in a 34-21 loss to second-ranked Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game. The Badgers own the eighth-stingiest run defense in the country (102.4 yards) and boast two of the conference’s most productive pass rushers in senior linebackers Zack Baun (12.5 sacks, second in the Big Ten) and Chris Orr (11.5, third).
ABOUT OREGON (11-2): Sophomore running back CJ Verdell (1,171 yards rushing) had the unenviable task of facing the nation’s top rush defense in the Pac-12 championship game and promptly erupted for 208 yards and three TDs on 18 carries in a 37-15 upset of No. 10 Utah. One of the most important components of the success Herbert and Verdell enjoyed this season is sophomore left tackle Penei Sewell, who became the first player in Oregon history to win the Outland Trophy. Junior wideout Johnny Johnson III (team-high marks of 55 catches, 818 receiving yards and seven receiving TDs) is riding a four-game scoring streak after finishing with six catches for 87 yards and a touchdown versus the Utes.
PREDICTION: Oregon 24, Wisconsin 21