Wisconsin Football: 10 Best Quarterbacks in Wisconsin Badgers History

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Camp Randall Stadium. Jim Oxley photo

No. 10: Ron Vander Kelen

Years at UW: 1962

Career Stats: 1,582 yards, 14 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 57.4 completion percentage

Ron Vander Kelen was only at Wisconsin for one season, but it was a good one as he helped the 1962 Badgers to an 8-2 season and #2 overall ranking and a spot in the 1963 Rose Bowl. That Rose Bowl game, which featured the #1 USC Trojans and the #2 Wisconsin Badgers, cemented Vander Kelen’s legacy, even in a loss.

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The game was the first bowl game matchup between the No. 1 and 2 teams in the country, and Vander Kelen impressed with a comeback performance, leading the Badgers back in the fourth quarter facing a 42-14 score. Vander Kelen and Wisconsin scored 23 points in the fourth quarter, but came up just short in a 42-37 loss.

Vander Kelen was named co-MVP of the game with USC quarterback Pete Beathard, and at the time set Rose Bowl records with 48 passes attempted, 33 passes completed and 401 passing yards. The Badgers offense totaled 32 first downs, which remains a Rose Bowl record. Vander Kelen, and his leading receiver, Wisconsin legend Pat Richter, were both later inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.

Vander Kelen finished ninth in Heisman voting in 1962, but was picked over Heisman winner Terry Baker to lead the College All-Stars in the Chicago College All-Star Game. He helped the collegiate all-star team defeat the Green Bay Packers 20-17 – hooking up with his buddy Richter for a touchdown in the game – on his way to earning the game’s MVP award. That all-star game was the final time the college all-stars defeated the NFL champion in the history of the event.

He went on to play in the NFL, backing up Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton for several years.

Next: No. 9: Randy Wright