The Wisconsin Badgers pulled off the upset on Saturday night and handily beat the No. 13 Nebraska Cornhuskers 70-31 in the Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. With the win the Badgers advance to the Rose Bowl for the third consecutive season, where they will face the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal on Jan. 1 in Pasadena.
The Cardinal beat the UCLA Bruins 27-24 on Friday night in the Pac-12 Championship Game to advance to their first Rose Bowl since the 1999 season. Stanford lost that matchup, on Jan. 1, 2000, to Wisconsin 17-9, thanks in part to game MVP and Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne, who rushed for 200 yards.
This year the Badgers have another senior running back great in Montee Ball, who rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday. Ball has rushed for 1,729 yards on the season and his 76 career rushing touchdowns and 82 total touchdowns are NCAA records.
On Saturday, Wisconsin jumped on Nebraska early with two touchdowns in the first two minutes of the game, including a 29-yard interception return by Marcus Cromartie for an early 14-0 lead. After Nebraska cut the lead to 14-10, Badgers running back James White scored two rushing touchdowns and a passing touchdown himself, for an insurmountable 42-10 halftime lead.
Wisconsin bulldozed Nebraska to the tune of 539 rushing yards, including three touchdowns of 50 or more yards. Melvin Gordon had 217 yards on just nine carries for the Badgers.
This was an unexpected result for the Badgers (8-5), who were 4-4 in conference play but represented the Leaders Division because both the Ohio State Buckeyes (12-0, 8-0) and Penn State Nittany Lions (8-4, 6-2) were ineligible for postseason play this year.
The Badgers have lost each of the last two Rose Bowls and hope the third time is the charm. They fell to the Oregon Ducks 45-38 in a classic last season, and fell to the TCU Horned Frogs 21-19 in the 2011 game. This is the ninth trip to the Rose Bowl for WIsconsin, who have wins in 1994, 1999, and 2000.
Wisconsin joins Ohio State (1973-1976) and Michigan (1977-1979) as the only Big Ten teams to make it to three straight Rose Bowls.
The 2013 Rose Bowl will be played at 2:10 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Jan. 1, and will be televised by ESPN.