Oct. 7, 2009
MADISON, Wis. -
It has been 10 years since Ron Dayne brought home the Heisman Trophy to the University of Wisconsin. Who could forget his historic run against Iowa in 1999 to break the NCAA rushing record? Or his performance in the 2000 Rose Bowl with 34 carries for 200 yards and a touchdown. To commemorate Dayne’s monumental 1999 season, UWBadgers.com will provide weekly updates with memories from the 1999 season. Today, we look back at Wisconsin’s game against Ohio State, fitting considering the 2009 Badgers take on the Buckeyes this weekend.
Make sure you check out our portal page commemorating Dayne’s 1999 season. It includes links to Dayne in the record books, clips from 1999 and memorable videos.
Back-to-back losses did not deflate the 1999 Wisconsin football team. The Badgers could have easily mailed it in after the two defeats and falling out of the top 25, but the team picked it up the following week on the road against No. 12 Ohio State.
“Now it was a matter of just keeping our guys focused and not losing the team,” UW director of athletics and former head coach Barry Alvarez said this year when reflecting on the 1999 Ohio State game. “Quite frankly, that’s what coaching is all about. It’s easy when everything goes as planned and you’re winning and you’ve got momentum. You find out if you can coach when you have some adversity.”
At first, it looked like the Badgers may be seeing their third consecutive loss as the Buckeyes jumped out to a 17-0 lead with 2:13 left in the second quarter. The Badgers cut the margin to 11 points as Vitaly Pisetsky nailed two field goals before halftime.
Despite the strong first half by the Buckeyes, Alvarez was confident his team was heading in the right direction for the second half.
“I felt we had the momentum,” he recalls. “I was watching the game from a different perspective. I knew that I was going in to get my knee replacement that night so I was watching the game from the press box and I really felt that we had gained the momentum of the game and felt pretty good about it. I thought that if we continued to play the way we were, we’d be in good shape and win the game.”
The second half was all Wisconsin as Ron Dayne ran all over the Buckeyes and the UW defense shut out Ohio State for the half. The Badgers stormed out of the break and used an OSU fumble on the kickoff to start the second half. Two plays and 14 yards later, Wisconsin scored its first touchdown of the game at the 14:21 mark off a Dayne three-yard run. Dayne scored shortly after that on an 11-yard run with 10:31 remaining in the third to give Wisconsin its first lead of the game, 18-17.
"After my second touchdown, I could tell the guys got tired of trying to tackle me," Dayne said of the Buckeyes after the game.
Then, in the fourth quarter, Dayne and the Badgers exploded. Wisconsin scored 24 more points and Dayne rushed into the end zone twice in the quarter to put the final score at 42-17. The Badgers scored 42-unanswered points and shut out the ranked Buckeyes in the second half to earn a much-needed victory and restore hope in Badger fans for a Big Ten title.
Dayne finished with 161 yards and a career-high four touchdowns but another offensive weapon stood out that day in rookie quarterback Brooks Bollinger. Scott Kavanagh, who started the first four games of the season, had an elbow injury and Bollinger made his first career start, going 15-of-27 for 167 yards.
After rushing for just 88 yards against Michigan the week before, Dayne was back on the Heisman Trophy radar. For him though, his performance against Ohio State wasn’t about the trophy.
"I don't go out to prove anything to people," he said after the game. "I just go out to play hard and get the win."
Wisconsin vs. Ohio State Boxscore