Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Star quarterback Justin Herbert had three rushing touchdowns to lead No. 6 Oregon to a 28-27 win over No. 8 Wisconsin in the 2019 Rose Bowl.
"I just hoped that we put up more points than the opponent," Herbert told reporters. "Whether it was through the air or on the ground, it didn't matter who was scoring, as long as we had more points at the end of the game."
Herbert threw for just 138 yards and failed to throw a touchdown pass, but his timely scoring runs made the difference in the narrow victory.
"I will always say this: I think he is the best college football quarterback and he's going to have an unbelievable NFL career," Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said of Herbert. "He can beat you in so many different ways.
"You see the legs, you see the arm, you see the decision-making. What you don't see is the leadership and the heart. In the end, that was the biggest difference."
Oregon earned the win despite have fewer first downs, total yards, passing yards and rushing yards than Wisconsin. The Badgers also had better efficiency on third and fourth downs and had possession of the ball for 14 minutes longer than the Ducks.
The Ducks and Badgers exchanged touchdowns to open the game. Herbert ended the game's opening drive with a four-yard touchdown run. Wisconsin tied the score when Aron Cruickshank returned the ensuing kickoff for a 95-yard touchdown.
The Badgers took a 10-7 lead with a Collin Larsh field goal, after intercepting Herbert on the Ducks' next drive. Thomas Graham Jr. went on to intercept Badgers quarterback Jack Coan with four minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Ducks used the good field position to setup a three-play, 33-yard scoring drive, capped off with a five-yard rushing score by Herbert.
Coan answered on the next drive, connecting with Quintez Cephus for an 11-yard touchdown with 11 seconds remaining in the half. The score gave the Badgers a 17-14 lead at the break.
The Ducks got the lead back after another Badgers miscue on the first drive of the second half. Oregon safety Brady Breeze picked up a fumble and returned it for a 31-yard score, giving the Ducks a 21-17 edge.
But the Badgers bounced back with an 11-play, 65-yard drive to take a 24-21 lead with 4:53 remaining in the third frame. Wisconsin added to the lead with another Larsh field goal in the fourth quarter.
Oregon punted on their next drive, before Wisconsin gave the ball back with a fumble. Herbert began the Ducks' next drive on the Wisconsin 30-yard line. He took the first-down snap and faked a handoff before running to his right. Herbert then stiff-armed a Badgers defender before outrunning several players and sprinting down the right flank, before reaching the end zone.
Ducks kicker Camden Lewis followed with an extra point, giving Oregon their final advantage.
Wisconsin had nine penalties and four turnovers in the loss.
"We are obviously disappointed in the outcome of the game," Badgers coach Paul Chryst said. "Give Oregon credit. I appreciated this game. The guys put it out there. Everyone knows football and we did some things that made it harder to win."
Breeze had 11 tackles and two fumble recoveries in the win. Coan completed 23 of 35 passes for 186 yards, one score and an interception for Wisconsin. Badgers star running back Jonathan Taylor had 21 carries for 94 yards and two catches for 43 yards in the loss.
"We've worked so hard for this," Breeze said. "To come in and be Rose Bowl champs and Pac-12 champs is such a blessing ... This is what I've dreamed about since I was a kid. We came here and we did it. I'm just so thankful."