PASADENA, Cali. – John and Leo Chenal can help break a little-known skid.
The two Grantsburg graduates and the University of Wisconsin-Madison football team take the Rose Bowl field on Wednesday, seeking a postseason victory over Oregon. It would mean securing a top-10 spot in the final college football rankings and prevent a three-game losing streak to the Ducks.
Oregon has defeated Wisconsin in their last two meetings, including their prior Rose Bowl matchup in 2012, which the Ducks won 45-38. They also won the prior matchup – a 31-28 decision at Oregon in 2001. That game still ranks as the highest-scoring Rose Bowl in history.
Prior to that, the Badgers won all three of their games against Oregon dating back to 1977.
Wednesday’s winner also will move ahead of the other in all-time Rose Bowl wins. Wisconsin and Oregon are tied with three wins each in the annual game, usually pitting teams from the PAC-12 and Big Ten against each other.
A key battle within this week’s game is the Oregon defense against Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor. This season he became the seventh player to surpass 6,000 rushing yards and has a year of eligibility remaining, should he choose not declare for the NFL draft. He’s facing an Oregon defense that has allowed only four rushing touchdowns all season and just 3.23 yards per carry.
The Ducks also have allowed only one player to rush for over 100 yards in a game against them this year. They’ve also been good against the pass this season, ranking second in the country with 19 interceptions while Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan is one of six quarterbacks in college football to throw at least 300 passes but throw four or fewer interceptions.
John Chenal – a fullback – has played in all 13 games for Wisconsin in his sophomore season, rushing for 66 yards on 18 carries and scoring a touchdown. He also has three catches for 15 yards.
Leo Chenal – a linebacker – has played in 10 games in his freshman season, totaling 20 tackles, including two for loss, with a fumble recovery.
Wednesday’s game between the No. 6 Ducks and No. 8 Badgers is scheduled for a 4 p.m. (CST) start on ESPN.