Did you expect Stanford and Wisconsin to engage in four quarters of devastating trench brawling, highlighted by heavy hits on both sides of the ball? You did, and you were proved correct. Any joy to be had in this one was for fans of brutal football (and fans of, you know, Stanford).
Stanford bolted to a 14-0 lead early in the first, but Wisconsin clamped down and irritated Kevin Hogan out of his early success. Montee Ball and Stepfan Taylor, plus their respective offensive lines, became pretty much the entire attacks of their teams, with each scoring and neither quarterback throwing for more than 123 yards.
David Shaw is now a Rose Bowl-winning coach, and Barry Alvarez has seen his Badgers through to new coach Gary Andersen in good condition.
Stanford trophy celebration. twitter.com/slmandel/statu…— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) January 2, 2013
Box Score Hero: Offensively, we'd have to go with Taylor, I guess, who posted 84 yards, a touchdown and the clinching first down. It was that kind of game. But true glory goes to the front-sevens of both defenses, each of which locked down its objective for nearly the entire second half.
Rankings Ramifications: Stanford returns plenty of talent from its Pac-12 championship team, including young quarterback Hogan, and could start the year as high as the preseason Top 5. Wisconsin should start the year ranked, thanks to their strong finish and impressive showing in two postseason games.
But Did They Cover? Stanford was favored by 4.5, so they did.
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