Wisconsin Football Countdown: No. 39, Matt VandenBoom and P.J. Hill


As the countdown to the first Wisconsin football game of the season continues, Badger of Honor is taking a look at Badgers by the numbers, checking in on a different Badger or Badgers players who wore the number corresponding with the remaining days until the Badgers head to Texas to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday, Sept. 5.

Next up in our countdown, signifying 39 days until college football is back, is a pair of No. 39’s on both sides of the ball: Matt VandenBoom and P.J. Hill.

Matt VandenBoom

A Kimberly, Wisconsin native, VandenBoom spent 1980-1982 on the UW campus.

Wisconsin Badgers
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Wisconsin Badgers

He busted onto the scene in 1981, picking off three passes in the season opener, helping the Badgers knock off top-ranked Michigan 21-14. He went on to finish the year with six total interceptions, tied for the best mark in the conference that season.

In 1981 he earned United Press First Team All-American status. He earned his second straight first Team All-Big Ten selection in 1982, and was a team captain in ’82 as well.

VandenBoom was a fifth round selection, No. 126 overall, by the Buffalo Bills in 1983.

P.J. Hill

Hill spent 2006 to 2008 at UW after committing to the school out of Brooklyn, New York and Poly Prep Country Day School.

He went on to have a pretty impressive three-year run, never failing to rush for less than 1,000 yards or 10 touchdowns in each of his three seasons at UW.

He totaled 3.942 yards in his career at UW, sixth best all-time at UW. He added 42 touchdowns, which is tied for sixth in the record books with Anthony Davis.

Hill didn’t always look pretty running in the open field, but as Chris Berman would say, he was often “rumblin bumblin and stumbling” into the end zone.

The Youtube video creator may have incorrectly predicted Hill’s eventual Heisman status, but there’s no question he was one of the most successful backs in Wisconsin history.

Hill went on spend four years in the NFL after going undrafted in 2009, although he never played in a regular season game.

Who wore No. 39 first?

• Halfback Max Murphy first wore No. 39 in 1927.

Who wears No. 39 now?

• Incoming freshman kicker Zach Hintze of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, will wear No. 39 for the Badgers this season.

Who wore No. 39 last?

• Freshman longsnapper Brady Kelliher last wore the number in 2014.

Stay tuned to Badger of Honor as we continue our daily countdown in preparation of the season opener against Alabama.

Next: Wisconsin Football Experience

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