Call it a come from behind victory without the dramatics of the 1997 season. UNLV came in to Camp Randall Stadium wearing a Boise State outfit, but you can’t copy an original. Everyone (except the newly hazed freshmen) thought of last year’s dreadful game with Boise State when on Wisconsin’s opening drive, QB Mike Samuel had his pass intercepted at the line of scrimmage and returned half of the field for a touchdown. Against Boise State, the opening play was a fumble return TD for the Broncos and it took three quarters for the Badgers to recover.
Against UNLV, however, kick returner Nick Davis found a more potent antidote. He returned the ensuing kickoff 63 yards setting up an easy Badger scoring drive. From here, Wisconsin rattled off 45 more points and used fourth stringers to seal the deal.
As usual, tailback Ron Dayne made headlines. This time, it wasn’t for a 100-plus yard rushing day or any particular Rebel defensemen that he abused. Rather, it was for breaking the all time rushing record at Wisconsin held for 26 years by Billy Marek. Dayne surpassed the coveted mark and led the pack.
As far as comebacks are concerned, this isn’t a game that will wind up on ESPN Classic anytime soon. Even though UNLV held a seven point lead for only about a minute, the ensuing 52 unanswered points by the Badgers can still be considered a come from behind victory – only the drama and heroics were left at the gate.