Timeout usage leaves Badgers short on time in 2nd half

first_imgPASADENA, Calif. – Once again, the Wisconsin Badgers took a game of great magnitude down to the very last second.This time, however, time passed by a little too quickly for an offense forced to overcome a seven-point deficit more than halfway through the fourth quarter. Consequently, the No. 5 Oregon Ducks (12-2, 8-1 Pac-12) were able to outlast the No. 10 Badgers (11-3, 6-2 Big Ten) in the 98th Rose Bowl Game Monday afternoon.After two exceedingly confusing plays early in the second half, the Badgers were left with just one timeout for the final 25:50 of the game. The result was a final drive that had Wisconsin scrambling to cover 87 yards with just 16 seconds remaining. Though two long passes from quarterback Russell Wilson brought the Badgers 62 yards downfield, the clock expired before a third play – and a pass into the end zone – could be attempted.After running back Montee Ball rushed for 13 yards on a 3rd-and-1 from Oregon’s 27-yard line early in the third quarter, head coach Bret Bielema sprinted over to the referee on his sideline to call a timeout as the Badgers were lining up for the next play. 12:18 remained in the quarter, and with Wisconsin already trailing 35-28 against an Oregon team that had gained 341 yards on just 29 first-half plays, the early loss of a timeout was puzzling.Ball did hurdle a defender at the end of his run and appeared to catch a helmet to the groin, though he showed barely any sign of injury after being tackled by a crowd of Oregon players. After the game, Bielema said the Badgers lined up in a “busted formation” on the play and he wanted to make sure they were not flagged for a 5-yard penalty.“It was basically, for lack of a better term, the wide receiver was on the side opposite of what we had lined up,” Bielema said.On the field, however, the situation wasn’t as clear for Wisconsin’s players.“I’m not exactly sure,” left guard Travis Frederick said. “I was in there, they called a timeout. I just do what they tell me to do.”After the timeout, Ball rushed for another two yards to the Ducks’ 12-yard line. After a rush for no gain and an incomplete pass, Wisconsin was forced to kick a 29-yard field goal, bringing the score to 35-31 in favor of Oregon.On the ensuing kickoff, Oregon returner De’Anthony Thomas caught the football and took a knee in the endzone. Referees called the play a touchback and advanced the ball to the Ducks’ 20-yard line, though the Badgers’ sideline insisted the play should be ruled down at the one-yard line because it appeared Thomas stepped out of the endzone before taking the knee.Bielema wanted the play to be reviewed, though after huddling with officials, none was given. The referees also declined to announce any sort of explanation, instead whistling ahead the start of the play.“I saw the return man put his foot on the line and it looked like the ball was out over the line,” Bielema said. “I was trying to ask the official on my sideline if I could challenge him not getting across the line and he looked at me like I had three heads. They couldn’t get the answer, so they called a timeout and then they actually came back to me and said because they couldn’t give me the information in an adequate amount of time, they weren’t going to use that as a I challenge, they were going to use it as a timeout.”Wisconsin’s defense ultimately held Oregon to a three-and-out, and the Badgers scored a touchdown on an 18-yard pass from Wilson to wide receiver Nick Toon after a 9-play, 62-yard drive. The play put the Badgers ahead 38-35, and that score held through the end of the third quarter.However, Wisconsin entered the fourth quarter with just one timeout. Oregon’s defense, which had surrendered 399 yards in the first three quarters, stiffened to allow Wisconsin just 109 in the final quarter. The Ducks were able to muster 10 points of their own, taking a 45-38 lead an 11-yard pass from quarterback Darron Thomas to wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei at the 14:35 mark.Following a three-and-out by the Badgers’ offense, the Ducks were able to grind the clock away with a 12-play, 76-yard drive that consumed 5:54. Kicker Alejandro Maldonado’s 30-yard field goal left Wisconsin 6:50 to score seven points, but again, with just one timeout.“When you’re presented with an opportunity and you’re right there, you’re so close, for the second year in a row to be at The Granddaddy of Them All and to lose, it’s heartbreaking, man,” safety Aaron Henry said. “A lot of people may say it’s just a game, it’s just a game, it’s just a game; but when you put all you have into the game, it hurts. When you invest time in something, whether it’s a relationship or a family member, … and you lose it, it’s painful.”last_img read more