Dayne rumbles for 246 yards as Wisconsin upends UCLA
Posted: Saturday January 09, 1999 04:32 PM
PASADENA, Calif. (CNN/SI) -- Throughout the season, UCLA stayed in the national championship hunt thanks to explosive offense and some decent luck to overcome defensive deficiencies such as tackling.
In the Rose Bowl, those faults were magnified many times over, especially since the Bruins seemed disappointed to be playing in their home field.
Instead, Wisconsin, supported by thousands and thousands of fans, was the favorite son in Pasadena. The Badgers rewarded them with an amazing effort.
Ron Dayne and the ninth-ranked Badgers left little doubt which team was more excited to be in Rose Bowl, beating the sixth-ranked Bruins 38-31. Dayne ran for 246 yards and a record-tying four touchdowns.
The Bruins (10-2), who until a month ago were headed for the Fiesta Bowl and a shot at the national title, wound up losing their final two games after winning 20 in a row. A 49-45 loss to Miami on Dec. 5 put them in the Rose Bowl instead of the Fiesta.
"These last couple of games have been disappointing," said Cade McNown, who threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns in his final game for UCLA.
The Bruins were knocked out of the Fiesta Bowl by a 49-45 loss to Miami on Dec. 5, and the Badgers similarly were able to pound on UCLA's flimsy defense.
"Our defense was ready to redeem itself after the Miami game," Bruin flanker Freddie Mitchell said. "They [the defenders] were really pumped up, but Wisconsin was just a better team than us."
UCLA joined Kansas State as a loser in a bowl game after dropping out of the running for the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 5; Kansas State was upset by Purdue in the Alamo Bowl.
Neither coach Bob Toledo nor his Bruins players would admit that the Rose Bowl was a comedown for them, although both he and McNown said in recent weeks that they would prefer a playoff system to the Bowl Championship Series.
Toledo still called the Rose Bowl "a classic game."
"They didn't do anything we didn't anticipate or expect. It was an excellent, hard-fought game."
Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez was perfectly happy to play in the Rose Bowl, and even more pleased at the end.
"It was a great football game; two teams playing very hard and a lot of guys making plays. We feel very fortunate to walk out of here with a win," Alvarez said.
For more than a half hour after the game, Badgers fans lingered in the Rose Bowl, singing "On Wisconsin" and cheering as the band played on and players gleefully danced on the field.
UCLA fans, outnumbered about 2-1 during the game, were long gone.
Dayne, showing power up the middle and speed in the open field, carried 27 times and scored on runs of 54, 7, 10 and 22 yards to lead Wisconsin to its first 11-victory season.
The 253-pound tailback finished one yard short of Charles White's Rose Bowl rushing yardage record when Badgers quarterback Mike Samuel dropped to one knee three times to run out the clock at the end.
Alvarez said he wasn't aware that Dayne needed just one yard for the record.
The Badgers (11-1), who until 1994 hadn't been to the Rose Bowl in 31 years and had never won the game, made it two victories in five years both over UCLA.
In a game that had 1,035 yards of offense, McNown passed for 340 yards and two touchdowns in his final game for the Bruins, but threw a costly interception that allowed the Badgers to open a 10-point lead early in the final quarter.
He threw the ball straight to cornerback Jamar Fletcher, who returned it 47 yards to put the Badgers up 38-28.
The Bruins closed the gap on Chris Sailer's 30-yard field with 6:05 remaining, but Wisconsin's defense shut down UCLA from there.
Although the Rose Bowl is the Bruins' home field, the sea of red in the stands made it seem more like a home game for the Badgers. Some two-thirds of the crowd of 93,872 was clad in Wisconsin's colors, and many sported cheese heads.
Matt Davenport gave Wisconsin the lead for the third time in the seesaw first half when he kicked a 40-yard field goal 17 seconds before halftime to make it 24-21.
The Badgers had the ball at the UCLA 18, but the Bruins' defense came up with one of its few big plays of the afternoon, as Ryan Nece sacked Samuel for a 10-yard loss on second-and-6.
Dayne's third touchdown pulled the Badgers even at 21-21 with three minutes left in the second quarter. This time, he ran to the right, followed a block by Gibson, then slipped to the outside to go 10 yards and into the end zone.
Two minutes earlier, Farmer leaped high above two defenders in the Badgers' end zone to pull down a 41-yard throw by McNown that gave UCLA a short-lived lead.
UCLA fell behind 14-7 when Dayne scored on a 7-yard run around right end, but the Bruins came back to strike for two touchdowns in a five-minute span.
They drew even on a pass thrown by flanker Freddie Mitchell off a reverse. McNown dropped back, seemed to nonchalantly flip the ball to Mitchell coming around him, and Mitchell found Durrell Price open behind the Wisconsin defense for a 61-yard scoring play.
McNown hooked up with Farmer on the Bruins' next possession to make it 21-14.
The teams set the tone for the game immediately. After the Bruins took the opening kickoff, McNown threw on five of their first seven plays, completing all five. Two holding penalties killed that drive, however, and the Badgers had to punt after Dayne carried on the first three plays.
In their 21-16 Rose Bowl loss to Wisconsin five years ago, the Bruins rolled up 500 yards but turned the ball over six times, including a Rose Bowl record five lost fumbles.
Sam Cunningham of USC and Eric Ball of UCLA also share the Rose Bowl record of four rushing touchdowns.
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