Cirminiello Rose Thought: Great D, Great Game
Posted Jan 1, 2013

Rich Cirminiello Rose Bowl Thought: Great D, Great Game

Richard Cirminiello

Fantastic game. And another great example that highly entertaining football does not always require wads of points and gaudy offensive statistics. It was the hitting and the importance of every second-half drive that made the 2013 Rose Bowl so compelling right down to the final minute.

With eyesore losses from USC and UCLA, and no banner bowl wins to date, the Pac-12 really, really needed to get out of Pasadena with a victory today. A Stanford loss would have been a stern body blow for the conference.

Gutsy effort from Wisconsin QB Curt Phillips, who overcame a lifetime's worth of knee injuries just to get to this point. He played like a quintessential Badgers quarterback, imperfect, yet tough and resilient throughout.

Badgers probably could have hung with Stanford and put up a fight without the services of Barry Alvarez on the sidelines, thus saving the people of Wisconsin $118,000. Heck, Barry was going to be on the sidelines as the AD regardless. The heroes on the Wisky staff were defensive assistants Chris Ash and Charlie Partridge, who schemed exceedingly well to limit the damage of RB Stepfan Taylor and TE Zach Ertz.

David Shaw really has something special brewing, picking up Stanford's first Rose Bowl win in four decades. He did something this evening that Jim Harbaugh couldn't do while on the Farm. And he did it with a redshirt freshman behind center, and not Andrew Luck. It's been a most remarkable breakthrough season for Shaw that'll continue to pay dividends in February and beyond.

More than three hours of football, and not once during it did I think that Wisconsin was a five-loss team that needed extenuating circumstances just to get into this game. Badgers looked and played like a Big Ten champion, which was a good thing for everyone in attendance.