UW Health Sports Medicine 

Remembering the Heisman: Week 6

ON WISCONSIN Photo of Ron Dayne
Photo of Ron Dayne

Oct. 14, 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 annual battle for the Paul Bunyan Axe against Minnesota.

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.

One thing is always for sure when Wisconsin visits Minnesota for the annual Border Battle—the game will be a wild one and go down to the wire. Things were no different when the 20th-ranked Badgers invaded the Metrodome during the 1999 season to take on No. 25 Minnesota.

Ron Dayne had his lowest numbers of the season with just 80 yards (3.2 average) on 25 carries, but he added a touchdown in the first quarter to even the score at 7-7. Minnesota responded before halftime with a score of its own but it was an 81-yard touchdown pass by Brooks Bollinger to Nick Davis, which kept the game interesting and tied, 14-14, heading into halftime.

Neither team scored in the third quarter but each capitalized on field goals on the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. This was Wisconsin’s first-ever overtime game and the Badgers came away in winning fashion as Vitaly Pisetsky connected on a 31-yard field goal to give the Badgers the 20-17 win and the Axe back. It was Wisconsin’s fifth-straight victory over the Gophers and, similar to this year’s team, the seniors on the 1999 squad had never lost the Axe.

The most unusual thing about this game, though, was that head coach Barry Alvarez was nowhere to be found on the sidelines; he was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., watching the game while awaiting knee surgery.

Well, at least watching most of it.

"He would not watch one kick," said Cindy Alvarez, who was the only other person in her husband's room during the telecast of the Minnesota game, "and he watched me to see if Vitaly made it."

Once it was confirmed the kick was good, coach Alvarez made everyone in the vicinity know his Badgers had won.

"They came in and took my blood pressure about 10 minutes after the game," Alvarez said back in 1999. "And it was off the charts."

Even though the close game may not have been the best for Alvarez’s health, and Dayne didn’t have the greatest numbers, the UW running back was happy with the outcome.

"I think as a team we were more excited this week pulling out a win, (rather) than just blowing somebody out," Dayne said following the game.

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota Boxscore


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