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Wisconsin Headed Back to Rose Bowl

November 22, 1998| From Associated Press

So much for a cupcake schedule. So much for losing at Michigan and not playing Ohio State. Wisconsin is making travel plans for the Rose Bowl.

The No. 13 Badgers rode remarkable special teams play and a stout defense to a 24-3 victory over No. 16 Penn State on Saturday at Madison, Wis.

Thanks to Michigan's loss to Ohio State, Wisconsin won a three-way tiebreaker over the Buckeyes and Wolverines in the Big Ten Conference. The Badgers, 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the Big Ten, will return to the Rose Bowl for the second time in six seasons. They defeated UCLA, 21-16, on Jan. 1, 1994.

The only snag could be if Ohio State miraculously climbs back into one of the top two spots in the Bowl Championship Series ratings and gets a shot at the national title.

In that case, the Rose Bowl would not be contractually bound to take Wisconsin as co-champion and could select an at-large team. But the prevailing sentiment from Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany is that the Rose Bowl would take the Badgers even under those circumstances.

Coach Barry Alvarez didn't need an invitation to begin his party.

"I don't need anything official," he said. "A win is good enough for me. I've coached in national championship games, played in them and coached in every other bowl game. There's nothing like taking the field at the Rose Bowl."

Said defensive end Tom Burke, whose four sacks increased his national lead to 21, a Big Ten record: "I couldn't wait to smell those roses. I grew up on a farm, so I know what hay smells like."

Ron Dayne, who suffered a strained chest muscle early in the game, carried 23 times for 95 yards and quarterback Mike Samuel added 89 yards in 18 carries.

Nick Davis' 82-yard punt return for a touchdown broke a scoreless tie and moved him past Thad McFadden as the school's all-time leader in punt-return yards.

The Badgers, tops in the nation in turnover margin, turned two takeaways into 10 points on their way to a 17-0 halftime lead.

Penn State (7-3, 4-3) lost to all three teams that tied for the conference title.

Minnesota 49, Iowa 7--If this game was Hayden Fry's last, he'll want to forget it as soon as possible. The same goes for the season.

Minnesota (5-6, 2-6) scored 21 points in a 6 1/2-minute span of the second quarter and 21 more in the first 7:25 of the third at Minneapolis in possibly the last game of Fry's career at Iowa.

Fry, whose 420 games are fourth on the all-time Division I list, said last week he probably will make an announcement about his future this week. If he does retire, he will leave with the most victories in Iowa history--143 in 20 seasons).

But he also will leave after a five-game losing streak, the worst since 1994 for Iowa (3-8, 2-6).

Purdue 52, Indiana 7--Drew Brees passed for 237 yards and four touchdowns as the Boilermakers (8-4, 6-2) overpowered the Hoosiers (4-7, 2-6) at West Lafayette, Ind.

Brees raised his Big Ten record for touchdown passes to 36 with two to Tim Stratton and one each to Isaac Jones and Gabe Cox--all in the first half. Brees completed 20 of 33 passes, setting Big Ten season records for completions (336), attempts (516) and yardage (3,753).

Michigan State 41, Illinois 9--The running of Sedrick Irvin and passing of Bill Burke were enough for the Spartans (6-5, 4-3) at East Lansing, Mich.

Irvin rushed 19 times for 94 yards and Burke completed 17 of 28 passes for 263 yards and one touchdown.

Illinois finished 3-8 and 2-6.

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