Let’s rewind the clock.
It’s the 2011-12 Oregon football season and the No. 5 Ducks are headed to the Rose Bowl to take on opponent No. 10 Wisconsin. The Badgers' run-heavy play, led by quarterback Russell Wilson and Heisman candidate running back Montee Ball along with that stout offensive line, clashed against the Ducks’ speed led by quarterback Darron Thomas, and running backs LaMichael James and De’Anthony Thomas.
This season wasn’t just all about the speed and new style from the Oregon offense, but something that would also change the game of football forever… the birth of the winged, full chrome helmets. It has changed the game at a sponsorship, business level down to recruiting.
In an article posted by the Salt Lake Tribune, UCLA Coach Chip Kelly reflects on how other teams have changed due to the Oregon influence.
When I first came in the league we were the only ones that ran a spread offense and had shiny helmets. Now everybody runs the same offense and has shiny helmets.
It was cute when Adidas released a special helmet for Wisconsin prior to the Rose Bowl that featured a rose pattern inside the “W”.
Here is our list of the best moments from the 2011-12 Rose Bowl:
DAT TD run
With time expiring in the first quarter, freshman De’Anthony Thomas busted up the middle and exploded for a 91-yard touchdown. The ever-dangerous, elusive, Thomas wreaked havoc and literally turned heads in opposing secondaries throughout his entire career at Oregon.
The last time Oregon played Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl— Elite College Football (@EliteCollege_FB) December 12, 2019
De’Anthony Thomas put up this stat line:
2 TD pic.twitter.com/ic7ZlnfNNX
DAT TD run (again)
So nice he did it twice. On a jet sweep up the left sideline, Thomas goes untouched all the way to the end zone. If you watch the video above closely, DAT was so fast he actually slows down to wait for his block the last 10 yards to get into the end zone.
This score gave Oregon the first lead of the Rose Bowl, 34-28 with 14:22 in the third quarter.
Kiko Alonso INT in third quarter
A huge moment swing with less than a minute to go in the third quarter. With Wisconsin riding a 10-0 run, linebacker Kiko Alonso jumps a route and lays out his whole body for a diving interception.
The Badgers would not score again after this play.
Great game! Last time I saw a Duck defender play like that was Kiko Alonso in the Rose Bowl vs...wait for it....Wisconsin. pic.twitter.com/6Kc5dTOFJZ— Rich McPherson (@tastyvocals) December 7, 2019
Terrance Mitchell punches ball out, Chip Kelly gets air
Arguably one of Chip Kelly’s best moments as Oregon’s head coach. With 4:17 left in the game, Wilson completed a deep ball to wide receiver Jared Abbrederis and turned upfield. Ducks DB Terrance Mitchell perfectly punched the ball out and it dropped absolutely still mere inches from the Oregon sideline. As the ball laid there for what seemed like hours, linebacker Michael Clay dove on top of it in bounds. Oregon ball. Kelly shows his enthusiasm with rapid jumping getting at least six inches of air off the ground.
The spike that never was
Word to the wise: you need more than two seconds to spike the ball. This was a tough pill to swallow for Wilson. With Wisconsin marching down the field, down by a touchdown and with less than a minute of game time remaining, Wilson tried to spike the football on the 25-yard-line with two second left on the clock. Wilson still had possession of the ball as he tried to ground it when the clock reached 00:00.
Game over. Ducks win, 45-38.
Fast forward to today, and the No. 6 Oregon Ducks will face No. 8 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl once again. Only one can hope for a similar result or at least Mario Cristobal jumping for joy at some point during the game.