Wisconsin Football Countdown: No. 21, Rufus Ferguson


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 21 days until college football is back, is Rufus Ferguson.

A Miami, Florida, native, Ferguson played running back at UW from 1970-1972.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

Ferguson — nicknamed “Roadrunner” — totaled 2,814 career rushing yards, which at the time was second to only Alan Ameche in the school record books. He would be third in the record books behind Ameche and Billy Marek until the 80s when larry Emery surpassed him, and was a top 5 rusher in school history until the impressive string of running backs began in the 90s at Wisconsin.

He rushed for 1,022 yards in 1971, becoming the second Badgers player (Ameche) to break 1,000 yards in a season. He repeated the feat in 1972, becoming the first Wisconsin player to record multiple 1,000-yard seasons.

Ferguson scored 26 touchdowns in his career, and became popular among Badgers fans for his end zone shuffle touchdown celebration.

He was a two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection in 1971 and 1972, and was the team MVP in 1972.

He was a 16th round election by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1973 NFL Draft. He never played in the NFL, but played in the CFL and WFL.

Who wore No. 21 first?

• Quarterback I. Breckenfeld was the first Badgers player to wear No. 21 at Wisconsin.

Who wears No. 21 now?

• Two Badgers currently wear No. 21. On offense, redshirt freshman running back Mark Saari wears the number. Defensively, true freshman safety Arrington Farrar currently wears No. 21 for the Badgers. Recruited as a high school safety, Farrar will likely play outside linebacker for the Badgers. He could potentially contribute as a freshman for the Badgers, and was one of the team’s top recruits in 2015.

Who wore No. last?

• Recently graduated cornerback Peniel Jean was the last Badgers player to wear No. 21.

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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