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Hove, Arthur (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 61, Number 9 (Jan. 1960)

Rudeen, Kenneth
The history of a champion,   pp. 8-10


Page 9


N      ANY     LIGHT, the Wisconsin
    football team should be considered
 representative of the State and     its
 people. This team is essentially the
 same gang of sophomores that broke
 into the lineup early in 1957, the year
 after Milt Bruhn's rather unfortunate
 debut as head coach when his team had
 a 1-5-3 record. The 1957 team, justi-
 fiably overlooked by the bulk of the
 pre-season surveys, surprised everyone
 by winning their first three games by
 convincing scores-and then surprised
 even more people when they split their
 remaining six conference games to con-
 clude the season with a. respectable 6-3
 record.
   The 1958 Badgers, as forecast, were
 even better. Solid now, and poised with
 the experience gained from the previous
 year, the fledgling sophomores jelled
 into quite an awesome unit of football
 power. They traveled to Miami and
 wreaked their own sort of hurricane on
 their Florida hosts; they humbled Mar-
 quette in  Madison; and     then  they
 proved to be an indecorous host to the
 Purdue Boilermakers. With slightly over
 two minutes of playing time elapsed in
 the game, a trio of red-shirted heavies
 burst through the Boilermaker line and
 converged on the Purdue punter. Guard
 Jim Fraser leaped up to block the punt
 and the pattern of the afternoon was
 established as the Badgers took advan-
 tage of their breaks and won 31-6.
   Then misfortune struck as Iowa came
 to town and took the   menasueofthe
 Badgers, 20-9. The following week, the
 team was still in the doldrums and was
 tied by Ohio State, 7-7. But the Badgers
 snapped back and won their remaining
 four contests to give them a fine season.
   1959 was the year then that the,
sophomores of 1957 were to come to
their full maturity. Although such de-
pendables as Sid Williams, Jon Hobbs,
Jim   Fraser, D a v e Kocourek, Dick
Teteak, and Early Hill were gone, it
still was a comfort to know that 23
lettermen were returning from the ex-
cellent 1958 squad. This truly was the
year for the Wunderkind of two years
previous to prove their mettle.
  Whenever Wisconsin     received  the
kick-off in 1959, nine seniors were in
the starting lineup, the only outsiders
being guard Ron Perkins and end Henry
Derleth. This predominance of seniors
prevailed throughout the season.
  In 1959, the Badgers not only had
Wisconsin Alumnus, January, 1960
  their opponents to account for, but the
  elements as well. During the first game
  against Stanford, rain came down spo-
  radically until, in the second half-
  "whoosh"-the sky fell in. The down-
  pour wasn't sufficient to extinguish the
  fire of an aroused Stanford ball club. It
  was all the Badgers could do to contain
  the aerial game of Dick Norman and
  win 16-14. The following Saturday was
  again overcast but the rain held off until
  Wisconsin had registered a 44-6 victory
  over Marquette. The next week, gloom
  and the rain were heavier than ever as
  the Badgers were inundated by Purdue.
  Since 1945 the Boilermakers had been
  trying to beat Wisconsin and their 21-0
  victory momentarily set the Badger title
  hopes awash. At that point in the sea-
  son, it appeared as though the clouds
  would never lift and there was doubt
  about the actual capabilities of the 1959
  Wisconsin football team.
  These doubts were erased the next
  week as the Saturday morning of the
  Iowa game dawned bright and clear.
  The Badgers, winning 25-16, proved
  to be as bright and snappy as the day
  despite the fact that Iowa quarterback
  Olen Treadway established a new Big
  Ten passing mark (26 completions in
  41 attempts) in the game. The gloom
  returned for the Ohio StaLe game and
  so did the doubt. A Wisconsin team
  hadn't won against the Buckeyes since
  1946, and it was a tie with the Buck-
  eyes in 1951 and 1957 that precluded
  the Badgers winning, or at least sharing,
  the Big Ten title. But the seniors proved
  to be equal to the occasion as they our-
  bruised the Buckeyes in the chill and
  rain. When the game was over, the
  image of Wisconsin tackle Dan Lan-
  phear stood over the Camp Randall sta-
dium like a colossus. He had played a
savage game at his position; he had
blocked a punt which resulted in a
safety against Ohio; he had recovered a
fumble deep in enemy territory; and he
was tackling so hard that the Ohio
players often wished they could stay
down for the remainder of the after-
noon. For his play in this game, he was
named Sports Illustrated's lineman-of-
the-week and has since been named
to virtually everybody's All-American
team.
  Then Wisconsin traveled to Michi-
gan with the overcast weather prevail-
ing. Michigan, in a rebuilding year,
was supposed to be somewhat of an
  easy touch for the Badgers but novitiate
  coach "Bump" Elliot arid his Wolver-
  ines were of contrary    opinion  and
  proved it as they employed three pla-
  toons of inspired footballers to keep the
  Badgers honest for the afternoon. Wis-
  consin used only twenty-two men in the
  game while Michigan made wholesale
  substitutions in an attempt to wear the
  Badgers down. The strategy     almost
  worked but Wisconsin managed to en-
  dure the continued shuffling of players
  and won 19-10.
    This set the scene for the momentous
 tussle at Northwestern's Dyche Stadium.
 The Wildcats had become the darlings
 of the poll-takers after winning six
 games in a row, including an impressive
 victory over Oklahoma. The Badgers,
 still smarting from the Purdue defeat,
 and numbed by the Michigan encounter,
 had to be in top condition mentally and
 physically--and they were. In a game
 that featured more thrills than Burt L.
 Standish could ever concoct for Frank
 Merriwell, Wisconsin     squeeked   by
 Northwestern 24-19 and tied for the
 Big Ten lead.
   Tired, but pleased with their victory,
 the Badgers returned to Madison to
 prepare for homecoming and Illinois as
 a November snow covered the ground
 and an unseasonable cold spell set in.
 The Wisconsin-Illinois game opened
 rather shakily as Illinois struck with a
 long pass that almost resulted in a score
 and then trapped the Badgers for a
 safety shortly after the gamehadi~egun.
 But Wisconsin came back with a touch-
 down on a fake field goal play and the
 game began to stabilize as the Illini
 mounted continued threats but lost the
 ball on breaks at crucial points. Then,
 after being denied all afternoon, the
 Illini started an 81 yard scoring drive in
 the closing minutes, capping it with a
 touchdown on the last play of the game.
 The Badgers were down again. At this
 juncture, they were tied with North-
 western and Michigan State for the
 conference honors.
 The concluding week of the season,
 in a nationally televised game, Wiscon-
 sin faced Minnesota with the knowledge
that they would have to win to gain
even a share of the crown. The people
in the northland were talking upset even
though the Gophers had won only one
conference game all season. It looked
as though their predictions might come
true as, shortly after the opening TV
                                    9


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