1. The University of Wisconsin is located in Madison, the capital of Wisconsin, about an hour-and-a-half due west of Milwaukee. UW is the state's public flagship, and is a land-grant and sea-grant The school's motto is Numen Lumen, which is a popular line from the sit-com Seinfeld.
2. Wisconsin's colors are cardinal and white. The badger was adopted as Wisconsin's mascot in 1889. According to Wikipedia (always 100% accurate), "Wisconsin was dubbed the Badger State because of the lead miners who first settled there in the 1820s and 1830s. Without shelter in the winter, they had to live like badgers in tunnels burrowed into hillsides." That story is so hokey that it might actually be true.
3. The name of the school's mascot is Buckingham U. Badger, more commonly known as simply Bucky Badger. Wisconsin's official fight song is On, Wisconsin, but the school is more noted for playing House of Pain's Jump Around between the third and fourth quarters of every home game.
4. Wisconsin has played football since 1889, and their overall record is 678-488-53, for a .578 winning percentage.
5. Wisconsin became a charter member of the Big Ten in 1896. Wisconsin's record in Big Ten play is 342-355-36, for a .491 winning percentage. The Badgers have 14 Big Ten championships, including the conference's initial championship in 1896. The Badgers last won the conference title in 2012, which was their third in a row.
6. Wisconsin has never won a recognized national championship. The closest that the Badgers have come to a national title were in 1942 when they finished #3 in the final AP poll with a record of 8-1-1; and in 1962 when they finished #2 in both major polls with a record of 8-2-0.
Games with Ohio State played a major role in both those near-miss seasons. On October 31, 1942, the Badgers beat the top-ranked Buckeyes: Nearly half the Ohio State team suffered from an attack of dysentery that had been contracted from drinking contaminated water on the train ride to Wisconsin. Then, the Buckeyes were housed on the sixth floor of a hotel without operational elevators. Finally, Halloween revelers from the nearby Wisconsin campus held loud pep rallies until the wee hours of the morning, which prevented the Ohio State players from getting a decent night's sleep. So the stage was set for an upset and the Badgers pulled it off, outlasting the Buckeyes 17-7 in a contest that has since been dubbed "The Bad Water Game". After that huge victory Wisconsin had an inside track to a national championship, but the Badgers dropped their very next contest, 6-0, to Iowa.
In 1962, Ohio State (final record 6-3-0) gave Wisconsin their only loss of the regular season, 14-7. Wisconsin went on to win the Big Ten championship and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl to play #1 Southern Cal. In an unusually high-scoring game the Trojans prevailed, 42-37, to earn their first recognized national championship of the poll era.
7. Wisconsin has been ranked in the final polls 25 times since 1936, with thirteen top-10 finishes. Wisconsin has been ranked in ten of the past twelves seasons, including the last three in a row.
8. Wisconsin has played in 27 bowl games, with a record of 13-14-0 (.481 winning percentage). The Badgers have been to nine Rose Bowls, but have a record of just 3-6 in those games.
9. Wisconsin has two Heisman Trophy winners, Alan Ameche (1954) and Ron Dayne (1999). For his Wisconsin career, Ameche had 3,212 rushing yards (an NCAA record at that time) and 25 touchdowns. In his six-year NFL career (1955-1960), Ameche was Rookie of the Year, a two-time champion, and a four-time Pro Bowler. Dayne holds the FBS record for career rushing with 6,397 yards; career 200-yard games (11, tied with Marcus Allen and Ricky Williams); and career 1,000-yard seasons (4, tied with several others). Dayne was a first-round pick of the New York Giants but he had a disappointing pro career with just 3,722 yards and 28 touchdowns in seven seasons.
10. Wisconsin has several other major award winners including Alan Ameche (1953 Walter Camp Award); Ron Dayne (1999 Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Doak Walker Award); offensive tackle Joe Thomas (2006 Outland Trophy); offensive tackle Gabe Carimi (2010 Outland Trophy); running back Montee Ball (2012 Doak Walker Award); running back Melvin Gordon (2014 Doak Walker Award); defensive back Jamar Fletcher (2000 Thorpe Award); defensive end J.J. Watt (2012 Lott IMPACT Trophy); punter Kevin Stemke (2000 Ray Guy Award); head coach Barry Alvarez (1993 AFCA Coach of the Year).
11. Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch began his football career at Wisconsin in 1942. That season he rushed for 786 yards and was named an All American for the #3 team in the country. Hirsch entered the Marines in 1943 and he was assigned to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Hirsch enrolled at the local diesel tech and became the only athlete in the history of that school to letter in four sports in one year - football, baseball, basketball, and track. Hirsch had a productive career in the NFL as a wide receiver, with his 1951 season being especially notable: In a 12-game season, Hirsch had 66 receptions for 1,485 yards (22.7 average) and 17 touchdowns. Hirsch is a member of several Halls of Fame, including College and Pro Football. His uniform number 40 has been retired by Wisconsin.
12. Wisconsin has 26 consensus All Americans, including 9 who were unanimous All Americans. Running back Montee Ball is only Badger to be named a consensus All American twice (2011, 2012).
13. Ohio State leads the series against Wisconsin, 57-18-5 (.744 winning percentage), and the Buckeyes have outscored the Badgers, 1,825 to 1,008 (22.8 to 12.6 on a per game basis).
14. Ohio State lost the first three games in the series (1913 to 1915), with two shutouts. The series stayed close through the first 17 contests (through 1946), with the Buckeyes holding a slight edge with a record of 9-6-2. Then the Buckeyes went on tear, winning 30 of the next 33 games (30-1-2, for a .939 winning percentage), with seven shutouts. During that streak (from 1947 to 1980), the Buckeyes outscored the Badgers, 928 to 322, or by an average of 28.1 to 9.8 points per game.
15. Wisconsin briefly owned the rivalry from 1981 to 1987, posting a record of 5-2. Ohio State regained control in 1988, and the Buckeyes have won 16 of the last 23 contests (16-6-1) including the last four in a row.
16. On October 23, 1971, Ohio State reserve running back Morris Bradshaw had an 88-yard touchdown run (the longest run in Buckeye history) and 88-yard kick-off return for a touchdown against Wisconsin. It is the only time that a Buckeye player has had two plays of 80+ yards in one game. Ohio State won the game by the score of 31 to 6.
17. The only other time that Ohio State has had two plays of 80+ yards in the same game was also against Wisconsin, on October 10, 2009. In that game, wide receiver Ray Small had a 96-yard kick-off return for a touchdown, and safety Kurt Coleman had an 89-yard interception for a touchdown. The final score was Ohio State 31, Wisconsin 13.
18. The last tie in the series came in 1993, when the two teams played to a 14-14 draw. #3 Ohio State entered the game with a perfect 8-0-0 record, while #14 Wisconsin checked in at 7-1-0. The Buckeyes outgained the Badgers, 418 yards to 332 yards, but were hampered by four turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble).
19. The 2001 contest was Jim Tressel's first in the series. The Buckeyes took an early 17-0 lead, but Wisconsin was able to score a touchdown right before halftime after a botched punt attempt. The Badgers owned the second half, outscoring the Buckeyes 13-0 to make the final score 20-17 in favor of Wisconsin. The game was an example of Tresselball gone bad - after taking the early lead, Ohio State ran 42 plays for 70 net yards (1.67 yards per play) and zero points.
20. In 2003, the #1 Buckeyes were the defending national champions and riding a 19-game winning streak. In week six of the season, in one of those typical grind-it-out Big Ten games, the two teams combined for 570 yards of offense and 550 yards of punting. Wisconsin scored the game-winning touchdown with 5:20 left on the clock on a 79-yard touchdown pass from back-up quarterback Matt Schabert to Lee Evans; that one play represented 26.4% of Wisconsin's total offense for the game.
21. In 2010, Ohio State lost only one game on the season, with that loss coming on the road at Wisconsin. The Badgers took the opening kick-off for a touchdown and never looked back, building a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. The top-ranked Buckeyes tried to make a game of it, but eventually fell by the score of 31-18.
22. In 2011, Ohio State was in the rare position of underdog in this series and the Buckeyes pulled off the upset over #12 Wisconsin. Thanks to a 44-yard touchdown run by true freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes held a 26-14 lead with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter. However, less than a minute later Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson connected with wide receiver Jared Abbrederis on a 17-yard touchdown pass. After a quick Buckeye 3-and-out, Wilson and Abbrederis connected on a 49-yard touchdown to give the Badgers a 29-26 lead with 1:18 left on the clock. With time running out, Miller scrambled around the pocket before hitting Devin Smith with a 40-yard desperation heave that turned out to be the game-winning score. Ohio State 33, Wisconsin 29.
23. The 2012 game was the only contest that went into overtime. The highlight of the game saw Buckeye linebacker Ryan Shazier force a fumble by Badger running back Montee Ball on 4th-and-1 from the Ohio State 2-yard line with 2:46 left in the game with Ohio State leading 14-7. The Badgers would eventually get the ball back and score with eight seconds left in regulation to force overtime. In the extra frame, Buckeye running back Carlos Hyde scored on a 2-yard touchdown run, and the Badgers turned the ball over on downs. Final score: Ohio State 21, Wisconsin 14. With the win, Ohio State improved to 11-0, and the Buckeyes eventually capped their perfect season with a victory over Michigan the following week.
24. Wisconsin also lost the 2013 contest, 31-24. However, Badger wide receiver Jared Abbrederis had another huge game against the Buckeyes, with 10 receptions for 207 yards and a touchdown. Four of Abbrederis's catches went for 20+ yards (23, 33, 36, 64). In three games against Ohio State, Abbrederis had 19 receptions for 360 yards (18.95 average) and 3 touchdowns.
25. Wisconsin and Ohio State did not meet during the 2014 regular season, but they did face off in the Big Ten championship game that year. The Buckeyes entered the game ranked #5 in the CFB Playoff poll, and they needed a big game against the #13 Badgers to earn a spot in the initial college football playoffs. With three-year starter Braxton Miller and his replacement J.T. Barrett both on the sidelines with season-ending injuries, the Buckeyes were forced to rely on third-string quarterback Cardale Jones, who was making the first start of his career. The game started well for the Buckeyes, as Jones hit wide receiver Devin Smith with a 39-yard touchdown pass in the first two minutes of the game. The Buckeyes struck again in the first quarter on an 81-yard touchdown run by Ezekiel Elliott, and it was off to the races. Smith finished with 4 receptions for 137 yards and TD catches of 39, 42, and 44 yards, while Elliott added 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground. The final score: Ohio State 59, Wisconsin 0, which was the largest margin of victory by either team in the series (matching Ohio State's 59-0 victory in 1979). The curb stomping was good enough to get the Buckeyes into the playoffs. And the rest, as they say, is history.
26. The Badgers are coached by Paul Chryst, who is in his second year at the helm in Wisconsin. Chryst played quarterback at Wisconsin (1986-1988) before getting into coaching. After several stops along the way, Chryst made it back to Madison, where he eventually became the Badgers' offensive co-ordinator (2006-2011). Chryst was hired to be the head coach at Pitt (2012-2014), where he enjoyed only moderate success with a three-year record of 19-19 (.500). In 2015, Chryst returned to his alma mater and led the Badgers to a 10-3 record and a win in the Holiday Bowl.
27. Wisconsin's leading rusher is Corey Clement, who entered the season as an All American candidate. Clement is having a disappointing season, with 82 carries for 319 yards (3.9 average) and 5 touchdowns. Reserve running back Dare Ogunbowale has 44 carries for 185 yards (4.2 average) and 1 touchdown.
28. After three-and-a-half years of Joel Stave behind center, Wisconsin entered the 2016 season with a quarterback controversy. The controversy has become more intense as neither candidate has done much to inspire confidence. Senior Bart Houston won the job out of training camp and he put up impressive numbers (44/71, .620, 527 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT) but didn't pass the look test. Redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook took over the reins against Michigan State and promptly led the Badgers to a seemingly impressive 30-6 victory over the highly-regarded Spartans (who now sport a miserable 2-3 record and aren't impressing anybody anymore). Hornibrook followed that up with a dreadful effort in a 14-7 loss to Michigan (9/25, .360, 88 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT), but apparently that was good enough to keep his starting job against Ohio State this week. If things go south early for the Badgers, look for Houston to get a chance to redeem himself.
29. Wisconsin doesn't throw the ball much, and when they do they look primarily at three targets: junior wide receiver Jazz Peavy (17 receptions, 281 yards, 16.5 average, 2 TD); senior wide receiver Robert Wheelright (18 receptions, 274 yards, 15.2 average, 0 TD), who played his high school ball at Columbus Walnut Ridge; and tight end Troy Fumagalli (16 receptions, 181 yards, 11.3 average, 0 TD).
30. Wisconsin's defense is led by linebacker T.J. Watt (29 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks), who is the younger brother of NFL superstar J.J. Watt. Linebacker Vince Biegel is a senior captain and the emotional leader of the defense, but he will miss the Ohio State game due to a foot injury. Cornerback Derrick Tindal leads the Badgers with three interceptions.
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