Pasadena, CA (WQOW) -- The 99th edition of the Rose Bowl was the third-straight trip to Pasadena for the Wisconsin football team, and it was the third-straight time they left California disappointed.
The message Barry Alvarez delivered to his Badgers team throughout the last month was simple and direct -- finish. That's something Wisconsin failed to do in it last two Rose Bowl trips. Tuesday's game was just as close and just as painful as the others.
"You're at midfield or close to midfield with a chance to win the Rose Bowl. I just felt like maybe we were a team of destiny," says Alvarez. "We were defeated by a very good Stanford football team. They didn't surprise me how they played, as you saw that on films, they've been very consistent all year. They're a physical team and they deserve to win today. I couldn't be more proud of a group of young men than my team. I thought when you fall behind 14-0, I thought it was a microcosm of their whole season. They fought back, got in the ball game. Again, the last possession they had themselves in a position where they had a chance to win the football game. But this group of kids have been through a lot and competed extremely hard against a very high quality team."
"We thought we ran quality plays. It wasn't like we said 'Oh gosh, they shocked us.' They're good, they're good players. It was man to man, go get them and sometimes we didn't get them like we wanted to," says offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
Senior quarterback Curt Phillips had been efficient at running the two-minute drill during the regular season, but his lone mistake Tuesday helped seal the game for Stanford.
"It's extremely frustrating," says Phillips. "There was no doubt in my mind that we were going to win that game. It's tough, but it's been a hell of a ride the whole time. I've really enjoyed it. I'm hoping I get another chance to come back and play next year."
Montee Ball caps off his stellar career at Wisconsin with 100 rushing yards and a touchdown. He's the first player-ever to score touchdowns in three straight Rose Bowls. But that is small consolation for a guy who walks off the field on the losing end three straight times.
"This is not the way I want to be remembered, speaking for the entire senior group, this is not the way we wanted to go out. But at this point right now, it is what it is. I felt like I did a great job of leading the team through adversity this season and in past seasons did a great job of capitalizing on big plays. But very unfortunate situation for us. I'm really looking forward to watching the Badgers next year, because they're going to be a great team," says Ball.
"It's heartbreaking. You'd like to send out guys like Montee the right way, and we couldn't get it done today," says junior linebacker Chris Borland. "Like Coach said earlier, it's kind of been a microcosm of our whole season. We've faced some adversity, fought back, and came up short. So just very disappointing."
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