Monday, December 30, 2019

Rose Bowl Recall: Mark Tauscher

Jake Kocorowski
Dec 29, 2019

The Wisconsin Badgers return to Pasadena when they face the No. 6 Oregon Ducks on Jan. 1 in the 106th edition of the Rose Bowl Game.

To commemorate the accomplishments of the program both past and present, presents its "Rose Bowl Recall" series. We've asked former players about either one moment or one experience that stands out from their time out west. It could be from the game itself, it could be from one of the various annual pregame festivities that take shape, or it could be from after the clock strikes zero on the scoreboard.

Be sure to check out our previous installments of the series with fullback Bradie Ewing, kicker Vitaly Pisetsky, and safety Scott Nelson.
On Sunday, a familiar face in the Wisconsin sports (and now sports talk) landscape reminisces about two events that pop out to him.
Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.

Offensive tackle Mark Tauscher

A former walk-on turned future 11-year pro at the next level, Tauscher became part of two Rose Bowl teams during his time at UW. You can now hear the former lineman on the weekday airwaves with the ESPN Wisconsin radio show "Wilde and Tausch," from the booth as an analyst during Wisconsin football home games in the fall, as well as the Packers Radio Network game day shows and on ESPN's radio waves

Here are two moments/experiences Tauscher told on Dec. 20 from his 2000 Rose Bowl experience against Stanford. The first came from a pregame event, while the other took place late in the game with the Cardinal driving into Wisconsin territory. The defense ultimately held on a 4th-and-12 from the UW 47-yard-line when the defense forced quarterback Todd Husak to slip. Badgers Ben Herbert, Wendell Bryant and Co. brought the pressure to clinch the program's second consecutive Rose Bowl victory.

"Well there'd be two for me. One was my last year, kind of just being in a float and being a part of the whole kind of pomp and circumstance, which I think is one of the things that separates the Rose Bowl from some of the other bowls. Just how big it feels. Then I think, the best feeling you have is when you seal the game up. In my case, it was with the defense sacking Todd Husak, their quarterback.
"When that happened, I think that's when everybody was kind of, 'Here we go,' and being able to say you won out in Pasadena, won a Big Ten championship and won a Rose Bowl. Growing up in the '80s and '90s, that was always something that was a big deal, and when that moment hits, you see everybody kind of realizing all the work that you put in, and here you go, you've accomplished something that's really hard to do." Do you remember what float or floats you were on?

"No, but what I remember, and I actually got the sign off of the side [of the float] because ... my name is spelled correctly, but it had me as an outside linebacker. So I actually have it in our Park Bank ESPN Madison studios. I put that up because it just made me laugh. 

"I just remember when I went up there, I was like, this will be the only time in my life I'll be an outside linebacker. I'm going to keep this, and it was part of something that you know, who knows if you're ever going to be in a float again at Disney. Doubtful but it was kind of a cool deal for me growing up watching the Rose Bowl and then being able to be on a float in the parade there was really cool."  If you're on the sideline watching that sack/stop, what do you remember from your emotions and letting that all sink in that you've won the Rose Bowl?

"You just want to hug everybody. You know your time, that is going to be it. This is it for your time at Wisconsin in a place that has meant so much, and to be able to win your last game in that environment, it was really just sheer joy. That was the thing that was just evident with everybody on that sideline. I always end up looking back and seeing Coach Alvarez and [offensive line coach] Jim Hueber. Through all the Rose Bowls, the three Rose Bowls that we've one -- the two that I was a part of -- just the emotions and just the joy that everybody on that sideline had. That's stuff that you can't find anywhere else."

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