December 30, 1998
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - The high-octane UCLA Bruins offense will have to solve Wisconsin's rock-solid defense if they plan on winning their first Rose Bowl since 1986.
No. 6 UCLA (10-1) had one of the country's best offenses this season, averaging nearly 40.5 points and 483 yards on their way to the Pacific-10 championship.
"I think what you've seen is the end product of three years of trying to build a system and getting some good players to make that system go," offensive coordinator Al Borges said.
The ninth-ranked Badgers allowed just 10.2 points and 270.3 yards on their way to tying for the Big Ten title and earning a Rose Bowl berth.
"We are blue-collar," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said. "The kids have worked hard and won football games. That is what we are all about. We don't have a lot of fluff."
The "blue-collar" defense will have to stop UCLA Quarterback Cade McNown, who completed 58 percent of his passes this season for 3,130 yards and 23 touchdowns.
McNown was 26 of 35 for a school-record 513 yards and five touchdowns in a season ending loss at Miami. That 49-45 loss to the Hurricanes knocked UCLA out of National Title Contention.
"This will be a new challenge - coming back after the first time we've lost in well over a year," McNown said of Friday's Rose Bowl. "The teams that have character are the teams that can bounce back from defeats like that, go out with a bang. That's how we're approaching it."
Wisconsin (10-1) won the Big Ten this season with defense and a potent rushing attack.
Ron Dayne, who announced his intention to stay at Wisconsin for his senior season last week, rushed for 1,322 yards and 11 touchdowns this year. Quarterback Mike Samuel had 10 rushing touchdowns.
The Badgers closed out their season with an impressive 24-3 victory over Penn State. Dayne rushed for 95 yards in the win and Samuel had 85 on the ground. Wisconsin's defense held Penn State's offense to just 93 yards passing.
These two teams last met in the Rose Bowl in 1994 and Wisconsin knocked off UCLA 21-16. This time around, the Bruins are heavy favorites, something UCLA coach Bob Toledo has a hard time accepting.
"They have the winningest coach in the school's history, they have a defense that's ranked No. 1 in the country, and they won a share of the Big Ten title," Toledo said. "By the time you get to this point, that means you're a pretty good football team."
Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. EST in what is the 53rd Big Ten vs. Pac-10 Rose Bowl. The series is tied at 26 wins each.