PASADENA -- Stanford defensive end Ben Gardner blew off his assignment, then hoped for the best.
Wisconsin was lining up for a fourth-down push from the 1-yard line early in the second quarter, and Gardner noticed something in the way the Badgers were aligned.
"We studied their goal-line package hard during the week,'' he said after Stanford's 20-14 victory Tuesday in the Rose Bowl. "I picked up on a tendency ... based on the guard's stance. I adjusted my alignment.
"I'm lucky I made the play. Otherwise I would have gotten yelled at.''
Gardner broke through Wisconsin's front and stopped tailback James White for no gain, a tone-setting play early in the second quarter that allowed Stanford to preserve its 14-0 lead.
Three hours later, Gardner was celebrating a victory over his home-state team.
"It's very sweet beating the Badgers, the team I grew up cheering for,'' said Gardner, who grew up in Mequon, Wis., but was not offered a scholarship by Wisconsin.
"It's very special. But I'm most proud of the guys in this locker room. Everywhere you turn, a different guy was making a play.''
Senior receiver Jamal-Rashad Patterson made the catch of his career, a leaping, 34-yard reception on a trick-play pass from receiver Drew Terrell that set up Stanford's first touchdown.
Kicker Jordan Williamson, who missed two critical field goals in the Fiesta Bowl loss last season, provided the decisive points in the
Reserve tailback Anthony Wilkerson picked up an important first down, dashing 8 yards on third-and-1 to set up Stanford's fourth-quarter field goal.
And nickel back Usua Amanan ended Wisconsin's comeback attempt with an interception in the final minutes -- the only turnover of the game.
Amanam was named defensive player of the game.
Taylor finished his career with 4,300 rushing yards and 44 touchdowns (rushing or receiving). Both are school records.
Gardner, who also has a year of eligibility remaining, said of the draft: "We'll see in the next few days.''
Tight end Levine Toilolo and linebackers Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy are also considering their options and have asked for feedback from the NFL's draft advisory board.