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

Oct. 31, 1942: No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 6 Wisconsin
On Friday night (Halloween, no less), some 9,000 Badger fans attended a 40-minute "We Can't Lose'' pep rally on the lower campus. It was definitely a ''feel-good'' event.

But it later turned ugly after some 5,000 rioted in the downtown area. Thirty-two were arrested for disorderly conduct, and destruction of property. Tear gas was used to disperse the mob.

It was worthy of an ESPN scroll at the bottom of the screen and a Dr. Lou commentary.

Back then, the equivalent of ESPN's GameDay crew was NBC's Bill Stern who would handle the radio play-by-play, which was to be carried by 184 stations in the United States.

In addition, the game was to be short-waved to 11 South American stations, two in England, two in Ireland, two in Alaska, one in Hawaii and one in Australia.

The Paul Brown-coached Buckeyes got 80 first-place votes in the Associated Press poll.

The Harry Stuhldreher-coached Badgers got one first-place vote.

Stuhldreher, the player, was immortalized as one of the Four Horseman of Notre Dame by Hall of Fame sportswriter Grantland Rice. Stuhldreher was the quarterback, Don Miller and Jim Crowley were the halfbacks and Elmer Layden was the fullback. All were outlined against a blue-gray October sky.

Stuhldreher, the coach, was overshadowed by Paul Brown, the legend. Both hailed from the football hotbed of Massillon, Ohio. But they were not known to exchange X-Mas cards.

That was one storyline. There were others, including the hype surrounding the fullbacks: Wisconsin's Pat Harder and Ohio State's Gene Fekete. There was even more hoopla for the halfbacks: the UW had Elroy Hirsch and Mark Hoskins and OSU had Paul Sarringhaus and Leslie Horvath.

Hoskins made up one half of Lancaster's "Touchdown Twins. '' The other half was Dave Schreiner, who was designated as the team captain for Ohio State.

The Badgers were confident, not cocky. And the game played out that way as they grabbed a 10-0 first half lead and parlayed their confidence and momentum into a memorable 17-7 win.

The Badgers held Fekete to 65 yards and Sarringhaus to 55, while Harder rushed for 97 and Hirsch picked up 118. At the end of the game, the aforementioned Stern was given the "bird'' by the cheering section just below the broadcasting booth. Stern had picked Ohio State to win.

The Badgers would go on to lose the following Saturday at Iowa. The Buckeyes would go on to run the table and win the national championship. They would also go on to labeling their loss at Camp Randall as the "Bad Water Game.''

Brown blamed an outbreak of dysentery on his team to the drinking water in Madison. Others believed the Buckeyes were exposed to contaminated water or foods somewhere on their train ride from Columbus, which included an overnight stop in Janesville.

Ohio State's Jim Tressel can be thankful for small favors.

Bottled water.
ON WISCONSIN