Every so often, Carson York will catch a glimpse of his younger, brawnier self in one of Oregon’s bold jersey and helmet combinations.
The former Lake City and Ducks offensive tackle played in a few thrillers that are still replayed on various networks, including the 2011 BCS national championship game and 2012 Rose Bowl.
York’s high school and Oregon teammate – former defensive end Brandon Hanna – is another Coeur d’Alene native who fondly remembers playing in “The Granddaddy of them All.”
It wasn’t the 22-19 loss to Cam Newton and Auburn in Glendale, Arizona.
“I was more excited to play in a Rose Bowl than the national championship,” said York, a four-year starter on former Ducks head coach Chip Kelly’s explosive offense. “Being from the Northwest, that’s the big game. There’s no setting like it in college football.”
York and Hanna, who both helped Lake City cruise to a Idaho 5A State title in 2006, had the rare experience of suiting up in two Rose Bowls.
Ohio State, led by dual-threat quarterback and Rose Bowl MVP Terrelle Pryor, downed Oregon 26-17 in the 2010 game.
When Oregon returned to Pasadena, California, two years later, it clipped Russell Wilson and Wisconsin, 45-38. The 83 combined points set a Rose Bowl scoring record, which was broken in the 2017 game when USC outscored Penn State 52-49.
The sixth-ranked Ducks (11-2) and the No. 8 Badgers (10-3) meet again Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the historic venue, Oregon’s fourth Rose Bowl appearance in the past 11 years.
York, who works in digital marketing for Nike and lives in Portland, will watch the rematch on the East Coast. Hanna will view it from his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he also works in marketing and is pursuing a master’s at Arizona State.
“When we won the (2012) Rose Bowl, it was big for our program,” York said. “We’d had bad luck in those New Year’s Six games, and it was our first Rose Bowl (win) since (1917).”
York watched most of the second half from the locker room after going down with a torn patellar tendon in the third quarter.
“It was a fight, man. It was a battle,” Hanna said of his final college game. “It was back and forth.”
The Ducks racked up 621 yards of total offense, paced by quarterback Darron Thomas’ three touchdown passes and speedster De’Anthony Thomas, who peeled off touchdown runs of 91 and 64 yards.
“I was genuinely shocked by how few plays we ran,” York said. “By halftime we ran, like, 14 plays, De’Anthony already had, like, 250 yards.”
Wilson led a potent Wisconsin offense (501 total yards), throwing for 296 yards and two touchdowns. Montee Ball, Wisconsin’s star running back who would be selected in the second round of the NFL draft, churned out 164 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries.
Before Wilson went on to help transform the Seattle Seahawks and become one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks, the graduate transfer from North Carolina State faced Oregon in his final college game.
Hanna, who often rotated on the edge of Oregon’s defensive front, knew Wilson wasn’t the biggest signal caller he’d face, but he was surprised when he met Wilson in the days leading up to the Rose Bowl.
“Short. That was my very first impression of him,” Hanna said. “I got to see him at a press conference and shake his hand, and that was the first thing that stood out to me. But he was good, could move and drop balls on a dime.”
Wilson, who has developed a reputation in the NFL for his late-game heroics, nearly sent the game into overtime.
On the game’s closing series, the Badgers drove upfield after Wilson completed a pair of long passes, advancing to the Ducks’ 25 with 2 seconds left and no timeouts.
Wilson attempted to spike the ball on the ensuing play, trying to stop the clock and take a shot at the end zone. But the clock hit zeroes on the play, ending the wild game after a video review.
“That was a scary moment, because they moved the ball quickly,” Hanna said. “We were saved by the clock.”
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