PASADENA, Calif. -- Quick thoughts from the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO, where TCU held on to beat Wisconsin 21-19.
How the game was won: Wisconsin's offense missed too many opportunities and got away from its roots in the power run. Even after recommitting to the run on a fourth-quarter scoring drive, the Badgers went to the pass on the potential tying 2-point try. Paul Chryst's decision certainly will be questioned, but Wisconsin had many more opportunities to put up more points. TCU did just enough on offense and won the field-position battle in the second half.
Player of the game: TCU linebacker Tank Carder. As good as Andy Dalton was in the first half, Carder was even better as the Frogs held Wisconsin's offense in check. Carder had two sacks and broke up the 2-point conversion attempt as he led the Frogs to the biggest win in team history.
Unsung hero of the game: Wisconsin running back Montee Ball was outstanding, rushing for 132 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries against the nation's top-ranked defense. Ball looked like a totally different player from the middle of the season until Saturday.
Stat of the game: Wisconsin was held to its lowest point total of the season. The Badgers had 20 in a Sept. 18 win against Arizona State and had put up 201 points in their final three regular-season games.
Second guessing: The 2-point try stands out, but Wisconsin seemed to go away from the run at inopportune times. TCU never consistently stopped the Badgers' backs, but Wisconsin wasn't as committed as it needed to be. Also, Scott Tolzien burning two timeouts in the second half stands out.
What it means: Wisconsin had a tremendous season and played well for stretches Saturday, but the Badgers got away from the things that made them 11-1. They didn't run the ball enough, committed too many penalties and allowed too many third-and-long conversions. Still, Wisconsin is a program on the rise in what looks like a very manageable Big Ten conference. The Badgers lose an outstanding senior class and possibly several others to the NFL draft, but they'll have a solid squad coming back in 2011.