Wisconsin Football: Top 30 Games in Wisconsin Badgers History

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#2 Wisconsin vs. #1 USC: January 1, 1963

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin 37, USC 42

The Badgers capped the stellar 1962 season with a trip to the Rose Bowl, playing in the first bowl game ever to feature a matchup between the top two teams in the country.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

The game fit the bill, and the Badgers fell in a 42-37 shootout that saw Wisconsin quarterback Ron Vander Kelen share MVP honors with winning quarterback Pete Beathard from USC.

The Badgers found themselves trailing 21-7 at the half and 42-14 after the first play of the fourth quarter in what seemed like an impossible 28-point deficit to recover from.

But recover the Badgers did, scoring 23 fourth-quarter points, but coming up short in a 42-37 loss. Wisconsin got the ball back on a punt late in the game, but time ticked away as Louis Hollands fielded the kick and was tackled. The way the Badgers offense was moving the ball, it seemed like they were headed for another touchdown if time allowed.

The Chicago Tribune summed up the game like this: “Badgers needed just one more play.”

Vander Kellen threw for 401 yards, a passing total not typically seen in that era. Pat Richter caught 11 passes for 163 yards, and the Badgers scored the game’s final 23 points. The two teams combined for 79 total points, a Rose Bowl record that stood for 28 years.

Despite the loss, the game remains one of the most memorable in school history to this day.

Next: 1999: Wisconsin vs. UCLA