Johnson Rose Thought: The Physical Battle
Posted Jan 1, 2013

Terry Johnson Rose Bowl Thoughts: The Physical Battle

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

- Who says that the Big Ten and Pac 12 are finesse leagues? Today's Rose Bowl was every bit as physical as any SEC contest this year.

- I'm surprised that Wisconsin didn't open up the offense a little more than it did. What did Barry Alvarez have to lose by taking a few more chances?

- Stanford's victory today raises an important question: should winning a conference championship carry more weight than the polls? Would the selection committee really leave out the Cardinal in favor of Oregon, who lost to Stanford in OT?

- After watching him match wits with Alvarez, who's in the college football Hall of Fame, it's clear that David Shaw is one of the best coaches in college football today. Shaw brought NFL-style toughness to the Cardinal program, allowing them to line up and beat the Badgers at their own game.

- Once again, Kevin Hogan was the difference maker for the offense. Sure, his numbers weren't outstanding (10-for-16 for 82 yards and 54 yards rushing), but Hogan's mobility allowed him to move the chains on crucial downs. It will be interesting to see if he wins All-Pac 12 honors next season, should he lead the Cardinal to another conference title.

- There's no question Stepfan Taylor can play on Sundays. While he led the Cardinal in rushing, and caught three balls out of the backfield, Taylor made his mark in fourth quarter. Even though Wisconsin knew that Stanford was going run the ball on every play late in the game, they simply couldn't stop Taylor, who ran seven times for 25 yards on the final drive. Every NFL team needs a running back that can help them milk the clock late in the game.

- Ditto for Montee Ball, who managed to run for 99 yards against the nation's third-best run defense.

- While it lost today, Wisconsin deserves plenty of credit for even making it to Pasadena this year. Yes, the Badgers finished with an 8-6 record, but the way that the team regrouped after losing 3 out of 4 late in the season speaks volumes about character of the UW players. With Joel Stave, Melvin Gordon, Jared Abbrederis, and Chris Borland returning, the Badgers should be in the mix for a Rose Bowl berth again next year.