Lucas at Large: Taking down No. 1, part two

Nov. 10, 1962: No. 1 Northwestern vs. No. 8 Wisconsin
Tom Myers vs. Ron VanderKelen.

Paul Flatley vs. Pat Richter.

That's how it was being marketed:  quarterback vs. quarterback, receiver vs. receiver. Northwestern's Myers and Flatley vs. Wisconsin's VanderKelen and Richter.

In passing offense, Myers was No. 1 in the Big Ten. VanderKelen was No. 2. In total offense, VanderKelen was No. 1. Myers was No. 2. You get the idea.

In receiving, Flatley was No. 1 in the conference. Richter was No. 2.

"The question you'd hear most often was, 'Who was going to be able to shut off the receivers?''' said Richter who would usher in another era of winning after becoming the school's athletic director. "And we'd say, 'Okay, if they had Myers and Flatley, we felt Vandy and myself could match up with them. We had a cadre of guys. And we felt pretty good about our running backs.''

Richter listed Louie Holland, Gary Kroner, Ralph Kurek and Jim Purnell. "That's where you see the real value of a balanced attack and what it can do for you,'' Richter reasoned.

Compared to the '42 game against No. 1 Ohio State, which created a national buzz, this game was barely a regional curiosity. It was not even televised. "But when you play No. 1, you don't want to be embarrassed. I know they were touted and we weren't,'' Richter said.

As it turned out, the Wildcats didn't have any answers for the Badgers, who scored 21 points in the first seven minutes of the third quarter and humbled Northwestern, 37-6.

"They ran the same plays, they had the same defenses, they did everything we expected,'' Wildcats coach Ara Parseghian said afterward. "But they did it with great determination and with greater execution. In a sense, they overpowered us.''

VanderKelen completed 12 of 22 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns. Myers was 16 of 26 for 181 yards. Flatley had two catches for 17. Richter had five for 77.

Wisconsin's Gary Kroner was named to the National Backfield of the Week. Kroner caught two scoring passes, kicked a 38-yard field goal and four conversions, and set up a score with a 45-yard kickoff return. Kroner had a hand, or a foot, in the UW's first 17 points.

Head coach Milt Bruhn singled out Holland, who accounted for three touchdowns, and the line play that he got from Ken Bowman, Steve Underwood, Ron Carlson, Larry Howard, Roger Pillath, Andy Wojdula, Lee Bernet, Joe Heckl  and Dion Kempthorne.

In the AP poll, Northwestern dropped from No. 1 to No. 9. The Badgers moved up to No. 4. Was this win the turning point of a season that would be capped by a trip to the Rose Bowl?

"Absolutely,'' said VanderKelen. "Any time you play the No. 1 ranked team in the country and beat them pretty badly, you've got to start believing you're a pretty good team. For a lot of people, I think it built up their confidence. It was like, 'Hey, we're good. We can do this.'"
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