Pasadena, CA. -- The 106th Rose Bowl is shaping up to be a heavy-weight, back-and-forth affair between the No. 6 Oregon Ducks and the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers.
It was the Ducks who won the toss, elected to receive and drew first blood. Oregon’s opening 75-yard drive was capped off by a four-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Justin Herbert.
The 7-0 lead, however, did not last. Wisconsin’s Aron Cruikshank broke free for a 95-yard touchdown return. The Ducks had not allowed a kickoff return back to the house since 2006. It was the first kick return score in a Rose Bowl Game since 2003 and the 2nd longest in Rose Bowl history.
The Oregon defense was the difference maker in the first half. The Ducks’ forced two turnovers to put UO’s offensive unit in scoring position. Justin Herbert capitalized on the second opportunity with another play-action QB keeper that ended with a nasty stiff arm to take a 14-10 lead with 3:16 before half.
It was the Badgers that would strike last. Wisconsin’s Jake Coan connected with Quintez Cephus for an 11-yard touchdown pass to take a 17-14 lead at halftime.