Found December 31, 2012 on Fox Sports Wisconsin:
Arizona-state-wisconsin
LOS ANGELES A natural line of questioning during bowl game build-up is to ask football players to compare their next opponent with previous opponents from the season. The idea is that a team and media members can find some sort of gauge for the future based on the way it has played in the past. So when Wisconsin quarterback Curt Phillips was asked this week to liken Stanfords defense to that of other teams in the Big Ten, Phillips obliged by rattling off three programs: Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State. For the sake of Wisconsin (8-5), it had better hope the results dont follow the same script during Tuesdays Rose Bowl against No. 6 Stanford (11-2). All three of those Big Ten games ended in heartbreaking Wisconsin losses in overtime because the Badgers couldnt do what they typically do best: run the ball. Which team is even better at stopping the run? Stanford. "They're very big a lot bigger than how they look on film because we ran into a couple of them at Disneyland, and they're some pretty big guys," Badgers running back Montee Ball said. "They fly downhill and really attack the run game and do a great job. Their D-line is very physical and very good." Stanford ranks No. 3 nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 87.7 yards per game. By comparison, Michigan State ranks No. 8, Ohio State No. 13 and Penn State No. 23. During Wisconsins overtime losses to Michigan State (16-13), Ohio State (21-14) and Penn State (24-21), the Badgers carried the ball 136 times for 383 total yards an average of 2.8 yards per carry. In the 11 other games this season, Wisconsin averaged 5.9 yards per carry. Stanford operates out of a 3-4 defensive front rather than a 4-3, which could create trouble for the Badgers because they rarely saw such a scheme this season. The Cardinal are allowing just 2.8 yards per carry for the entire year and lead the country in tackles for loss (120) and sacks (56). "You definitely have to be aware of that and have to get the ball out because they're coming after you," Phillips said. "I think it's something that our guys up front will take personally, try to give us a little bit of extra time, but they are very good at that." Of course, there is no guarantee Stanford will stuff the run simply because it has done so all season. Wisconsin enters the game ranked No. 12 nationally in rushing offense (237.8 yards per game) and possesses arguably the best three-man tandem in the country. "The three-headed monsters, we call them," Stanford coach David Shaw said. Ball won the Doak Walker Award this season as the best running back in the country. He has rushed for 1,730 yards with 21 touchdowns yet has the third-best yards-per-carry average among the teams tailbacks at 5.2. James White (6.7 yards per carry) and Melvin Gordon (10.8 yards per carry) have come on strong late in the season to spell Ball and provide different looks offensively. White is part of a Wildcat-esque package involving seven offensive linemen and two tight ends that has created problems for opponents. Gordon has found success on pre-snap motion plays, including jet sweeps, which allow him to run free in open space on the edges. "We've shut the run down early," Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas said. "If we show we can slow it down, eliminate the run in the first couple quarters, they're going to slow down as well. As long as we do our job of shutting down the run, making them one-dimensional and winning first and second down, our defense should be fine." Stanford counters offensively with a pro-style system that mirrors Wisconsins. The Cardinal will depend on running back Stepfan Taylor, who became the first Stanford player to rush for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons. Taylor has 1,442 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Quarterback Kevin Hogan, meanwhile, became the teams full-time starter on Nov. 10 and has won all four of his games against ranked opponents. Perhaps the biggest wild card surrounding the game is how Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave will be used. Stave, a redshirt freshman, hasnt played in a game since breaking his collarbone Oct. 27 against Michigan State. But doctors fully cleared him this week to participate, and he is expected to see action in some capacity. As a starter, Stave went 4-2 and improved considerably as he gained more confidence running the teams offense. Phillips is 2-2 since taking over for Stave as the Badgers starter. "Stave brings a little more to the table," Wisconsin interim coach Barry Alvarez said. "He can throw the ball down the field. He brings a little more to it and gives us a little more ammo in the game plan." Regardless of the quarterback situation, you can count on Wisconsin relying on its ability to run the ball. That means when the two teams take the field in Pasadena, strength will meet strength. "You'd better bring your big boy pads for this game," Alvarez said. "I happen to like games like this." Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Badgers 2012 Year in Review: No. 3 - Basketball makes run to Sweet 16

It's time... time for the New Year to begin, but before we get there it's also time for us to hit on the biggest stories of the year and on our countdown we've reached the cream of the crop... Yes, the top 3 stories of 2012. We last left off talking about one of the greatest records in all of college football - as No. 4 was Montee Ball breaking the career TD record....

Ball reflects on storied career at Wisconsin

LOS ANGELES Montee Ball wore a wreath adorned with shiny ornaments as he stood near Sleeping Beauty's castle and Mickey Mouse. In the land of make believe, the emotions inside Ball were very real. He stared into the rows of fans and back at his Wisconsin teammates, trying to savor the precious moments that remained of his college football career, including this trip to Disneyland...

Alvarez brought hope, not victory, for Badgers

PASADENA, Calif. Hope arrived at a podium on Dec. 6 in the form of a 65-year-old man who hadn't coached a football game in seven years. He sat before a crowd of reporters, 13 camera crews, team captains and assistant coaches to announce that, yes, the speculation was true. He would end his retirement to coach in the Rose Bowl. For one game only, at the behest of team captains...

Notebook: Ball makes Rose Bowl history

Rose Bowl notebook - Wisconsin running back Montee Ball became the first player to rush for 100 yards and score a touchdown in three consecutive Rose Bowl.

Column: Badgers make best of a bad situation

(Eds: With AP Photos.) By JIM LITKE AP Sports Columnist Loyalty being what it is these days in college football, you didn't know whether to be happy or sad to see Barry Alvarez back on the Wisconsin sideline seven years after he left coaching to become the Badgers' athletic director. Wisconsin was one of two schools playing Tuesday - Northern Illinois was the other - whose...

This time, Phillips can't bring back Badgers

PASADENA, Calif. Two-minute drives and Wisconsin quarterback Curt Phillips had become synonymous during his brief stint as the team's starter. Facing dire situations against tough Ohio State and Penn State defenses last month, Phillips led the Badgers down the field for game-tying touchdown drives to force overtime. So when Wisconsin trailed Stanford on Tuesday evening by six...

PhiLthy’s 2013 BCS Bowl Matchups

Follow Me @PhiLthyMcNasty_ The time is near. The BCS bowl games are starting this week and college football is back to becoming a priority. After the Mayans failed to end the world, we have some great matchups to welcome in the new year. Will Notre Dame cap off their historic season with a National Championship? Which players will stand out and show off their skills to earn them...

Wisconsin's 3rd straight Rose Bowl comes up thorns

The way Wisconsin's season played out, a third consecutive Rose Bowl loss fit right in. The unranked Badgers were beaten 20-14 by No. 8 Stanford on Tuesday, another thorn in a season full of them. Three overtime losses. Coach Bret Bielema quitting to go to Arkansas. Star running back Montee Ball attacked and left with a concussion in August. Even the one-game return of Barry...

Badgers 2012 Year in Review: No. 2- Badgers Shock Nebraska for Third Straight Big Ten Title

This story may have been one of the later events in terms of its position in the calendar year, but it was undoubtedly one of the biggest, not only of the year, but in the history of Wisconsin Athletics. The beauty of this story lies not in what happened, but how it happened.  It’s safe to say that the 2012 football season didn’t go as many in Badger nation had planned....

DC's Preview: Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio

#6 Stanford vs. WisconsinRose Bowl, Pasadena, CA Tuesday, January 1st, 5:00 PM on ESPN Do we really need an intro for the Rose Bowl? The Granddaddy of Them All? The oldest and most prestigious bowl game in college football? The Rose Bowl has been the highest attended bowl game since 1945, and has crowned dozens of national champions. Stanford is making their 13th appearance...

Viewer's guide to New Year's Day bowl games

You can worry about those resolutions on Jan. 2. While the ages of every game being played on New Years Day are long gone back in 1960 there were just eight games compared to todays 35 in a postseason that runs from Dec. 15-Jan. 7 the day still belongs to college football. With a slate that includes two BCS games in the Rose and Orange Bowls, three SEC-Big Ten clashes and the...

Third time not a charm as Wisconsin Badgers lose Rose Bowl to a great Stanford team

Another trip to Pasadena and another loss to a great team at the Rose Bowl. Stanford came into the game as one of the best-rounded teams in the country and left with a 20-14 win. To get there, the Cardinal had to fight off a tough Wisconsin Badgers team who despite five losses proved they can stick with one anyone in the country. What It Means: First and foremost, the courageous...

2013 NFL Draft stock report: Rose Bowl edition

Not a lot of offense in this year’s Rose Bowl as Stanford held off Wisconsin 20-14 to send the Badgers to three straight losses in “The Granddaddy of Them All.” Nonetheless, there were some moments where certain NFL prospects impressed and others that had head-scratching moments. Here are some players who helped or hurt their 2013 NFL Draft Stock.RISING: Wisconsin RB Montee...

Big Ten Bowl Extravaganza Vol. 7: Wisconsin

Wisconsin will get a third crack at snapping the Big Ten’s losing streak in the Rose Bowl. A conference team hasn’t brought home the roses since the Badgers last did it in the 2000 game when they downed Stanford. The Grandaddy of them all will mark the end of a brief, albeit sizeable, flurry of bowl games featuring BIG squads. The game will appear on ESPN at 5 p.m. E.T. ...
College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.