Okay, got home around 7... had to unload all the tailgate stuff, then take the rental back... just now having time to collect my thoughts.
Pre Game Day Fun
Friday-Saturday: Prior to game day, we arrived late Friday night and we had a DSA member in the room right next to us. victory2128 and his fiance met with us Friday night and we made plans to hang out Saturday. We spent the day driving up 101 and kinda sight seeing from the car and talking Ducks before heading to lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings.
Saturday Night: Went downtown and had some drinks with AJ, got to meet some pretty cool people. Spent some time talking with a couple of Wisconsin radio people as well as a couple of local writers... even a chance to meet the Rose Bowl Media Director... they did an amazing job this year setting everything up.
Sunday My family and I took victory2128 and his fiance down to the Santa Monica Pier early where we hung out, ate lunch at the Mexican place at the end of the pier before heading over to the Pep Rally. While it was rather mundane compared to last year's pep rally, it was more "old fashioned" with a LOT more of the band, a GREAT pep talk by Joey Harrington and the best version of "Mighty Oregon" ever (okay, that MIGHT be an exaggeration, BUT, that 4 year old was pretty cool!)!
After the pep rally, we all went out to dinner and then got back tot he room fairly early as we had to get up REALLY early to secure our spot... like, we were there by 4:15 AM!
Tailgate We had another great time in Pasadena. This crowd was a lot different than the Ohio State crowd who were way more subdued. The Wisconsin fans like to party and we had a great time with those Wisconsin fans around us. In fact, there were times you couldn't tell where their tailgate ended and ours began... we kinda co-mingled.
Unlike the LSU fans, though, the Wisconsin fans, even the younger drunk ones were all pretty cool to hang out with.
I cannot remember everyone that showed up, so I am not going to even try! However, there were quite a few Duck fans and a lot of our regular tailgaters showed up.
For those that missed it, I created a new tailgate staple that had Wisconsin fans wondering how come they had not thought of this... Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs! Yes, that is as AWESOME as it sounds!
Post Game Thoughts
So, the game actually went almost EXACTLY as I thought it would... I knew that Wisconsin would be able to run on us early, but I also knew that they just could not contain all of our speed... if you focus on LMJ, DAT will burn you... stuff the box? Darron Thomas will go over the top...
The reason I had faith that Darron would be solid this game is simple, I never thought that Wisconsin could get pressure on him... they came in with just 23 sacks this season which ranked them outside the top 50... though the stats list them with 2 sacks this game, they actually only got one which was truly a sack (just my opinion as I am NOT the official scorekeeper). If people had watched tape of the games Darron struggled early on in, they would not that it had a LOT more to do with quality DT's getting in Darron's face early and the line having to make blocking adjustments. When a 6'5" D-Lineman is in your face, you HAVE to release the ball a little higher to get it over his hands... and that tends to cause some high throws... Wisconsin does NOT, contrary to popular opinion, have good defensive linemen that can disrupt a QB... hence Darron played like the Darron we all know and love.
The Badgers got almost exactly what I predicted on the ground... (for those that don't remember, I thought the Badgers would get up to 225 yards rushing with ball getting up to 166 yards). For the game, the Badgers gained 212 yards on the ground on 46 carries with Ball going 32-164 yards. They were a little above my thoughts on average yards per carry.
On offense, though, the Ducks far exceeded my thoughts on the ground... mainly due to De'Anthony Thomas' 91 yard run.
What I could not predict were turnovers. I thought our depth at Linebacker would play a role and boy did it ever. Kiko showed yesterday why we were all so excited after the Spring game.
Though the Defense gave up some yards early (151 rushing yards on 29 carries in the fist half), the defense got a little better in the third quarter (14 rushes for 74 yards, 5.3 per carry). The 4th quarter, though, depth began to show itself as the Badgers managed just 3 carries for ZERO yards.
At the end of the game, the Ducks, despite the first half shootout, held the Badgers to just 10 second half points and 224 total yards in the second half. Meanwhile, Oregon put up 17 points and 295 yards. The Ducks found themselves just short of a Rose Bowl record with 621 total yards in the game...