2002 Alamo Bowl: Wisconsin 31, Colorado 28 (OT)
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Mike Allen was just a walk-on kicker when the Alamo Bowl presented by MasterCard started. His Wisconsin teammates were ready to carry him off on their shoulders when it was all over.
Allen’s 37-yard field goal in overtime sent the Badgers to a 31-28 win over No. 14 Colorado on Saturday night.
The sophomore had to shake some jitters before his winning kick.
“I haven’t been automatic from 37,” said Allen, who was 11-of-18 this season with a long of 48 yards. “Luckily today I was.”
Brooks Bollinger threw two touchdown passes and ran for the tying score with 51 seconds left in regulation for Wisconsin. The Badgers (8-6) improved to 7-1 in bowl games under coach Barry Alvarez.
2003 Music City Bowl: Auburn 28, Wisconsin 14
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Auburn Tigers finished the season the way they had hoped to open 2003.
Carnell “Cadillac” Williams and Ronnie Brown scored in the last four minutes, and each finished with two rushing touchdowns, leading Auburn to a 28-14 victory over Wisconsin in the Music City Bowl.
Jason Campbell added a season-high 67 yards on nine carries, and went 10-for-22 for 138 yards. The Tigers also had six sacks and forced two turnovers in winning their second straight game and second consecutive bowl game under coach Tommy Tuberville.
Not bad for a team that lost its first two games after being ranked sixth in the preseason and survived an embarrassing attempt by the university president at replacing Tuberville.
“We showed our poise and our unity as a team,” Brown said. “We went through a lot this season and had a lot to deal with. For us to be able to put our distractions behind us and come out and win the Iron Bowl and then come win our bowl game was real exciting for us.”
The Badgers (7-6), trying to give coach Barry Alvarez his 100th victory at Wisconsin, dropped to 7-2 in bowls under Alvarez, primarily because they failed to stop Auburn’s running game or protect quarterback Jim Sorgi, who was hit repeatedly.
“I wasn’t worried about 100,” Alvarez said. “When you’re playing an SEC team, you’re just trying to compete.”
2004 Outback Bowl: Georgia 24, Wisconsin 21
TAMPA, Fla. — As the winningest quarterback in NCAA history, Georgia’s David Greene leaves behind quite a legacy.
“If I could hope, it would maybe just be the guy found a way to win. Not for being the best quarterback, but one who found a way,” Greene said Saturday after delivering one last time for the No. 8 Bulldogs in a 24-21 victory over No. 16 Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl.
The senior from Snellville, Ga., threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns in his farewell, continuing his assault on the Southeastern Conference record book and adding victory No. 42 to his NCAA mark.
Greene completed 19 of 38 passes, but also was intercepted twice
after throwing only two during the regular season. Wisconsin’s Andy Crooks returned the second pick 11 yards for a touchdown, and John Stocco’s 2-point conversion pass to Jonathan Orr cut Georgia’s lead to three points with 4:13 to go.
The Bulldogs didn’t give the Badgers (9-3) a chance to get closer, driving to the Wisconsin 5 before taking a knee on successive plays to run out the clock. Brown gained 49 of his 111 yards rushing on the final drive.
Wisconsin finished with a three-game losing streak after beginning the season 9-0 to climb into national title contention, but losses to Michigan State and Iowa by a combined 79-21 cost the Badgers a share of the Big Ten title and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
“Quite frankly, I think we overachieved this season,” coach Barry Alvarez said. “This is a football team that had a lot of adversity, had key players hurt. We were consistent offensively all year, yet we found ways to win,” Alvarez said.
2005 Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin 24, Auburn 10
ORLANDO, Fla. — With a masterful offensive performance and a surprisingly stingy defense, the Wisconsin Badgers gave coach Barry Alvarez a proper send-off.
Brian Calhoun rushed for 213 yards, John Stocco passed for 301 and Brandon Williams had 173 yards receiving, lifting the No. 21 Badgers to a 24-10 victory over No. 7 Auburn in the Capital One Bowl on Monday.
It was the perfect tribute to a coach who restored pride to a down-and-out program.
“We wanted to be on,” said Stocco, who threw two touchdown passes. “We just wanted to thank him for everything he’s done, not just this year but since he’s been here.
“This is coach’s day. It just feels great to send him out of here like this,” he said.
The 10½-point underdog Badgers (10-3) were in control throughout against the Tigers (9-3), who flopped after ending the regular season with wins over Georgia and Alabama.
Alvarez never let his coaching finale be about himself, but the Badgers’ near-flawless performance offered a fine opportunity for a little reflection.
“The main thing I’m most proud of is that we brought pride back to our fans for our football program,” Alvarez said.
2006 Capital One Bowl: Wisconsin 17, Arkansas 14
ORLANDO, Fla. — John Stocco hoped a win over Arkansas in the Capital One Bowl would help silence those who have questioned the quality of Wisconsin’s schedule.
“I’m just so tired of hearing that stuff,” the Badgers quarterback said.
He won’t have to hear much more of it after helping No. 6 Wisconsin to a 17-14 victory over the No. 12 Razorbacks on Monday. Stocco threw for two touchdowns in the first half, and the Badgers (12-1) held on through a tense second half.
Wisconsin won 12 games in a season for the first time, a nice claim for a team overshadowed by Big Ten rivals Ohio State and Michigan. But this was the Badgers’ first win over a ranked team. Their only loss was to Michigan, and Ohio State wasn’t on their schedule.
“One of the biggest things we did at one of our team meetings this week was that we played some news clips from some of the news stations back in Arkansas,” Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. “Once again, they pointed out that we hadn’t played anybody this year … we certainly used that as a motivational factor.”
Arkansas (10-4) had several chances to seize momentum, and each time, Wisconsin held the Razorbacks off.
2007 Outback Bowl: Tennessee 21, Wisconsin 17
TAMPA, Fla. — Phillip Fulmer stepped up to the podium and graciously accepted the Outback Bowl trophy.
No. 16 Tennessee overcame injuries, academic suspensions and the impending departure of two key assistant coaches to beat No. 18 Wisconsin 21-17 Tuesday for the Volunteers’ first 10-win season since 2004.
“We’ve been waiting a couple of years to get one of these,” the Tennessee coach said after the Vols erased unpleasant memories of a loss to Penn State in last year’s Outback game and also stopped Wisconsin from becoming only the second Big Ten team to beat Southeastern Conference opponents in three consecutive bowl appearances.
Erik Ainge threw for 365 yards and two touchdowns in his final game for the Vols, who also got a stellar performance from a defense that has improved dramatically since early season losses to California and Florida. Ainge completed 25 of 43 passes without a turnover to win MVP honors.
Antonio Wardlow sealed Tennessee’s first 10-win season in three years when he intercepted Tyler Donovan’s deep throw intended for Paul Hubbard in the end zone in the final minute. The Vols also thwarted another fourth-quarter drive by stopping Wisconsin on downs at the Tennessee 10.
“There’s a lot of things we can take from this game,” Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. “To be able to be in a position that we were, and not come out with a win, it’s a difference of little things along the way from the opening snap to the final snap there at the end.”
2008 Champs Sports Bowl: Florida State 42, Wisconsin 13
ORLANDO, Fla. — Bobby Bowden glimpsed into the past, and it made the 79-year-old coach excited about Florida State’s future.
Bowden saw a big-play offense and a hard-hitting, opportunistic defense in the Seminoles’ 42-13 win over Wisconsin at the Champs Sports Bowl on Saturday.
“It looked like the old Florida State out there,” Bowden said. “Not that we’re there, but we looked like we used to.”
Florida State (9-4) finished with more than eight wins for the first time since 2004.
Derek Nicholson and Dekoda Watson returned fumbles for touchdowns, Christian Ponder threw two TD passes and the Seminoles got a game MVP performance from punter Graham Gano.
Nicholson, a senior, had two fumble recoveries, including one he returned 75 yards for a first-quarter score. Gano averaged 48.2 yards on five and had three downed inside the Badgers 5 to earn game MVP.
“Once we got our feet on the ground, we were almost unstoppable out there,” said Ponder, who was 18-for-31 for 199 yards. “We got into a groove and every one was making plays.”
P.J. Hill ran for 140 yards on 15 carries for the Badgers (7-6), but quarterback Dustin Sherer completed only four of nine for 55 yards through the first three quarters. His fumble early in the fourth quarter was returned 51 yards for a score by Watson to put FSU up 35-6.
“I was disappointed in everything out there,” Sherer said. “I didn’t make the plays we needed. They made it tough on us early with the punts, but we really kind of shot ourselves in the foot and allowed them to do that.”
2009 Champs Sports Bowl: Wisconsin 20, Miami 14
ORLANDO, Fla. — All that Miami speed was no match for the big, bad Badgers.
John Clay had 121 yards rushing and two touchdowns, powering Wisconsin (No. 25 BCS, No. 24 AP) past Miami (No. 15 BCS, No. 14 AP) 20-14 in the Champs Sports Bowl on Tuesday night.
Clay ran through, over and around the Hurricanes to help the Badgers (10-3) earn their first victory over a ranked opponent this season and claim a big win for the Big Ten.
“That’s Wisconsin football, just wearing a defense down,” said Clay, who was selected bowl MVP. “The third quarter, fourth quarter, I could just see them sucking wind and holding their waists.”
Scott Tolzien threw for 260 yards, and Montee Ball added 61 yards rushing for a Wisconsin team touted as too big and too slow for the dynamic Hurricanes. None of that seemed to matter when the Badgers were powering the ball down the field.
“The way we were running the ball, I had it pretty easy,” Tolzien said. “I just had to find a way to get a few passes to our receivers.”
Miami’s Jacory Harris struggled before throwing a touchdown pass to Thearon Collier with 1:22 remaining. The Hurricanes recovered the onside kick, but Harris threw incomplete on fourth down to end any hope of a comeback.
2010 Rose Bowl: TCU 21, Wisconsin 19
PASADENA, Calif. — When Tank Carder leaped with perfect timing and swatted Wisconsin’s final pass to the turf, the TCU linebacker felt as if he got a boost from every player at every school that never even imagined playing in the Rose Bowl.
Sure, these unbeaten Horned Frogs realized they couldn’t win the national title. They still celebrated their perfection on the hallowed Pasadena turf in the name of all the little guys outside the monolithic powers of major college football.
Andy Dalton threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score, Carder batted down a 2-point conversion pass attempt with 2 minutes to play, and third-ranked TCU hung on to beat Wisconsin 21-19 on Saturday.
Bart Johnson caught an early TD pass and recovered a late onside kick for the Mountain West champion Horned Frogs (13-0), who followed up their second straight unbeaten regular season with their first BCS victory.
TCU is the first school from a non-automatic qualifying conference to play in the Rose Bowl since the advent of the BCS, and the Frogs were right at home.
“All the critics don’t feel like the non-AQ teams should have a shot,” said Carder, the defensive MVP. “But I feel that TCU has proven that we can play with the best of them. Definitely taking this win back to Fort Worth … I feel like we came in here and made a statement today.”
Montee Ball rushed for 132 yards and a late score for the Big Ten co-champion Badgers (11-2), whose loss capped a nightmare New Year’s Day for their conference. The Big Ten went 0-5 in bowl games Saturday, and the Badgers fell just short of a late rally when Carder made a defensive play that will live forever in TCU lore.
“Hopefully the scar that we’re going to take from this game can get us back here sooner than later,” Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said. “This game wasn’t decided on one play or two plays. It was probably an accumulation of about 10 or 12 plays that we failed to execute, and they did.”
2011 Rose Bowl: Oregon 45, Wisconsin 38
PASADENA, Calif. — The Oregon Ducks had waited 95 years to win another Rose Bowl presented by Vizio, and the last few seconds stretched for an eternity. The players in mirrored helmets held each other back on the sideline, waiting on tiptoes for video review to confirm Wisconsin was out of time.
The call went Oregon’s way. The Ducks stormed the hallowed field.
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 the Badgers 45-38 in the highest-scoring Rose Bowl ever played.
“We had no doubt this year that we were going to come out and do big things,” said Darron Thomas, who passed for 268 yards. “It’s a big statement for the Oregon program.”
Oregon (12-2) showed off its creativity with 621 total yards — second-most in Rose Bowl history — against the tough Badgers, playing at its usual frantic pace until the final whistle. Lavasier Tuinei caught eight passes for 158 yards and two TDs for the Ducks, who had no postseason success to show for Kelly’s otherwise wildly successful three-year tenure until this landmark offensive performance.
It’s unlikely anybody from Oregon will forget how this one ended.
With two long passes, Russell Wilson moved the Badgers to the Oregon 25, but with 2 seconds left and no timeouts. After waiting for the ball to be set, he spiked it to set up a last-ditch heave to the end zone, but the clock hit zeroes while he did it.
The Ducks were winners after video review, holding Wisconsin scoreless in the fourth quarter.
“It would have been nice to have a chance there,” said Wilson, who passed for 296 yards and two scores. “With 1 second left, I think we could have capitalized.”
2012 Rose Bowl: Stanford 20, Wisconsin 14
PASADENA, Calif. — Shayne Skov and Zach Ertz believe every game in Stanford’s improbable football renaissance led the No. 8 Cardinal to midfield at the Rose Bowl Game.
That’s where Usua Amanam made the interception that stopped Wisconsin’s final drive with 2:30 to play in a grind-it-out game. That’s where Kevin Hogan grinned broadly as he took the final snap on Stanford’s first Rose Bowl victory in 40 years.
And it’s the spot where the once-struggling team from a school better known for brains than brawn raised the West Coast’s most coveted trophy after a 20-14 victory over the Badgers on Tuesday night.
“There’s a sense of accomplishment, because we got somewhere we hadn’t been yet,” said Skov, who made eight tackles while leading Stanford’s second-half shutout. “If you looked at our goals at the beginning of the season, this was on top of the list, and we got it done. We’re extremely satisfied.”
Stepfan Taylor rushed for 89 yards and an early touchdown, while Hogan passed for 123 yards, but Stanford (12-2) won the 99th Rose Bowl with a shutdown effort by its defense. Although Stanford didn’t score many style points against the Badgers, the Cardinal could celebrate because they didn’t let Wisconsin score any points at all after halftime, holding the Badgers to 82 yards.
Stanford clamped down on the Big Ten champion Badgers (8-6), who lost the Rose Bowl in heartbreaking fashion for the third consecutive season. Montee Ball rushed for 100 yards and his FBS-record 83rd touchdown, but Wisconsin managed only four first downs in that scoreless second half.
With impressive defense of its own, Wisconsin still stayed in position for an upset in the one-game return of Hall of Fame coach Barry Alvarez, who was back on the Badgers’ sideline in his red sweater-vest seven years after hanging up his whistle.
“This group of kids has been through a lot, and they competed extremely hard against a very high-quality team,” said Alvarez, who nearly pulled off a stunner while bridging the gap between coaches Bret Bielema and Gary Andersen. “We’ve played three very good football games (at the Rose Bowl). These guys played hard. In fact, most people would like to get here once. But we just didn’t get it done.”
2013 Capital One Bowl: South Carolina 34, Wisconsin 24
ORLANDO, Fla. — South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw’s career has been marked by a mix of special moments and others he’d like to forget.
He made sure his final game was one he’ll be able to savor.
Shaw was responsible for five touchdowns, including three passing, and No. 8 South Carolina outlasted No. 19 Wisconsin 34-24 in the Capital One Bowl on Wednesday.
The Gamecocks’ senior was named the game’s MVP after picking apart the Badgers defense, completing 22 of 25 passes for 312 yards. Shaw also had scores rushing and receiving.
Bruce Ellington caught six passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Shaw Roland also hauled in six catches for 112 yards.
“The guys, we came together as a team today and Connor did a great job of leading us,” Ellington said. “We just came out and played.”
Shaw’s receivers caught balls in traffic and in the open field, gashing a Wisconsin defense that surrendered 438 yards for the game. The Badgers also allowed two fourth-down conversions, one which set up a 22-yard touchdown pass from Shaw to Ellington that put the Gamecocks up for good late in the third quarter.
Wisconsin (9-4) lost its fourth straight bowl game, failing to capitalize on 100-yard rushing games from both Melvin Gordon and James White, and struggling after quarterback Joel Stave left in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.
Backup Curt Phillips was intercepted twice.
2014 Outback Bowl: Wisconsin 34, Auburn 31 (OT)
TAMPA, Fla. — Wisconsin hoisted Barry Alvarez into the air for one more victory ride.
The school’s career victory leader called it quits — again — after the 18th-ranked Badgers took down No. 19 Auburn 34-31 in overtime in the Outback Bowl.
It took a strong farewell performance by Melvin Gordon, a 25-yard field goal in overtime, and Alvarez’s steady leadership in the wake of the abrupt departure of former coach Gary Andersen to get the job done.
It might not have been one of the New Year’s Six bowl games, but Wisconsin and Auburn provided quite the undercard for the College Football Playoff.
“I’ve had a couple of those, and I like them,” Alvarez, the school’s athletic director for the past 11 years, said after being doused with a sports drink and carried off the field after stopping a four-game skid in bowl games.
“It’s a little uncomfortable afterwards, but I like them. And it’s special for those seniors. It meant a lot to them. They won a lot of games here. They haven’t won a lot of bowl games. So they put a lot into it, they bought into it, they gave us strong leadership when it was needed, and now they can enjoy it.”
Wisconsin improved to 9-4 in bowl games coached by Alvarez. He led the Badgers to 118 victories over 16 seasons before retiring in 2005, and has answered a plea from players to return to the sideline twice in the last three seasons to guide the team in a January game after losing their coach — first Bret Bielema to Arkansas and then Andersen to Oregon State.
“Let me make something clear: I didn’t want to coach these guys. I initially said I’d feel uncomfortable doing that again when they asked me. They asked me to sleep on it, that they would come back,” Alvarez said, adding that he eventually agreed because “it’s still about the kids or we wouldn’t have jobs.”
And now that he’s done it, and tasted winning again?
“That’s it,” Alvarez said without hesitation. “No mas.”
2015 Holiday Bowl: Wisconsin 23, USC 21
SAN DIEGO — After more than six decades, the Wisconsin Badgers have finally beaten the Southern California Trojans.
Rafael Gaglianone kicked a 29-yard field goal with 2:27 left to lift No. 23 Wisconsin to a 23-21 victory against Southern California in the Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night.
Gaglianone’s third field goal gave Wisconsin (10-3) its first win in seven tries against USC (8-6). The teams hadn’t met since 1966, and two of USC’s wins in the series were in the Rose Bowl, in 1953 and 1963.
“That’s a tremendous team and a tremendous program,” Badgers quarterback Joel Stave said. “They are one of the staples of college football. When you think of college football, you think of USC, so that’s who you grow up watching.”
“It’s nice to beat them,” said linebacker Jack Cichy, the game’s defensive MVP. “My dad went to Notre Dame so I watched them as a kid.”
Wisconsin’s Sojourn Shelton intercepted Cody Kessler with 1:44 left. Kessler was hit from behind by Cichy.
“We knew it would be a physical game. On that interception when I was coming forward he hit my arm,” Kessler said. “The last thing I remember is him hitting me. They had a relentless effort to the ball.
“That is a good defensive team that is going to make plays. It happened to make a play at a critical moment.”
2016 Cotton Bowl: Wisconsin 24, Western Michigan 16
ARLINGTON, Texas — The venue wasn’t the Rose Bowl. The stakes weren’t on par with the College Football Playoff.
Still, the University of Wisconsin sunk the boat on one season Monday while validating its own. Coming off a crushing loss to Penn State in last month’s Big Ten Championship game in which the Badgers blew a 21-point lead, eighth-ranked UW finished off an overachieving year with the type of dominant defensive performance one has come to expect from this program.
The 24-16 win over previously-undefeated Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium was UW’s first BCS or New Year’s Six Bowl victory since winning the Rose Bowl to end the 1999 season.
“We just wanted to get back out there and prove ourselves again,” UW inside linebacker T.J. Edwards said. “I think it kind of left a bad taste in our mouth after the Big Ten Championship game. … It was just time to prove ourselves, so I’m glad we could do that.”
Edwards, the game’s defensive MVP, made arguably the biggest play of the day when he intercepted quarterback Zach Terrell deep in Western Michigan territory early in the fourth quarter. That set up an eight-yard touchdown from Alex Hornibrook to tight end Troy Fumagalli, giving UW a 24-10 lead.
It was only Terrell’s fourth interception and the Broncos’ eighth turnover of the season, and even with a late touchdown pass to star wide receiver Corey Davis, Western Michigan’s prolific offense set a new season low for points.
“We went out and we made a statement,” UW cornerback Derrick Tindal said. “We lost the Penn State game, but we’re a great team and we know how to come back from that, and that’s what we showed.”
2017 Orange Bowl: Wisconsin 34, Miami 24
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — When the 2017 Big Ten Championship game concluded in defeat for the University of Wisconsin on Dec. 2, 2017, Andrew Van Ginkel’s game-changing takeaways faded into the background of a loss that dashed the Badgers’ College Football Playoff hopes.
That night against Ohio State, the junior’s pick-six and forced fumble in the first half were crucial in UW’s attempt to climb back from an early deficit and even give itself a chance to win.
His interception in the 2017 Orange Bowl against 11th-ranked Miami (10-3) became much more than a great effort in a lost cause.
With the sixth-ranked Badgers (13-1) sputtering towards a second straight defeat, Van Ginkel stepped in front of a wide receiver screen intended for Braxton Berrios on the Miami 23-yard line.
That three-second play turned the game upside down and sparked a string of 21 unanswered points for the Badgers in their 34-24 victory at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. The win was UW’s fourth straight in a bowl game and its 13th this season, a program record.
“That’s back-to-back (games) that he’s made great plays in these big-time games,” UW inside linebacker T.J. Edwards said. “He does it all day in practice, and he’s just an absolute spark plug.”
Miami totaled 153 yards and 14 points on its first three drives. The Hurricanes recorded minus-3 yards on eight plays over their next three — starting with Van Ginkel’s interception — all while UW quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw three straight touchdown passes to flip a 14-3 deficit into a 24-14 halftime advantage.
Danny Davis elevated over cornerback Dee Delaney for a 20-yard touchdown on third-and-7 after Van Ginkel’s interception, and Hornibrook found A.J. Taylor near the back corner of the end zone on UW’s next drive, giving the Badgers a 17-14 lead with 5:49 left in the second quarter.
The touchdown to Taylor marked Hornibrook’s 23rd touchdown pass of the season, the second most for a UW quarterback in a single season, trailing only the 33 Russell Wilson threw in 2011.
Perhaps Hornibrook’s most impressive stretch, however, came on his third touchdown drive. The sophomore completed a 10-yard pass to Taylor on third-and-7 before firing an impressive 21-yard strike to Kendric Pryor on third-and-11 after sliding away from pressure.
The latter moved the Badgers to Miami’s 10-yard line, and Hornibrook found Davis for another touchdown to put UW up 24-14 with 0:28 left in the half.
Hornibrook completed 10-of-12 passes for 114 yards over those three second-quarter possessions, and he connected on all six of his passes for 74 yards on a fourth-quarter touchdown drive. That march ended with yet another toss in the end zone to Davis, increasing UW’s lead to 34-24 with 7:44 remaining and essentially putting the game out of reach.
By the numbers: Wisconsin’s 16-game bowl streak
OVERALL RECORD: 8-8
BOWL GAME APPEARANCES
3 – Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl, Rose Bowl
2 – Champs Sports Bowl
1 – Alamo Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Music City Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl
BOWL GAMES BY STATE
8 – Florida
4 – California
2 – Texas
1 – Tennessee
1 – New York
3 – Auburn
2 – Miami
1 – Colorado, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida State, TCU, Oregon, Stanford, South Carolina, USC, Western Michigan
OPPONENTS BY CONFERENCE (record vs.)
7 – SEC (3-4)
3 – Pac-12 (1-2)
3 – ACC (2-1)
1 – Big 12 (1-0), Mid-American Conference (1-0), Mountain West (0-1)