Nothing could stop the fourth annual Eddie Robinson Classic from kicking off the 2001 campaign – except lightning. The Badgers and Cavaliers had to wait to begin action in Camp Randall Stadium due to lightning cells that were threatening the Madison area. Officials had fans move into the field house and into the concourse of the stadium to wait out the weather. While huddled with thousands of anxious fans, rumors began to spread about the game being cancelled altogether.
However, the danger from nature subsided and the delay lasted only thirty-one minutes. To keep up with time constraints, kickoff had to start rapidly and fans were rushing to their seats. Still, at the game’s inception, only about 10,000 folks had entered the stadium. The band hadn’t even made their way in yet. The scene was extremely eerie as though some vacuum had sucked the atmospheric qualities of college football right out of the stadium leaving only two soggy teams on the field. But, by the end of the first quarter, most of the 76,000 that would attend had found their seats. The band marched in and once settled, they played “On Wisconsin” to remind the crowd that they were in Camp Randall.
College football was slow to waking up this season, and so were both teams. Virginia and Wisconsin failed to offer a wealth of action in the first half. However, the Cavaliers were as generous as Santa Claus giving up several turnovers. The second half was like a drain had been unclogged. Defying nature, runningback Anthony Davis found daylight often giving him over one hundred yards for the day. Quarterback Jim Sorgi connected with Lee Evans on two touchdowns, the most prolific being a 78 yarder that washed the Cavaliers away. Al Groh’s coaching debut at Virginia failed to be pleasantly memorable as they suffered a 26-17 defeat. Wisconsin and their hardy fans that packed an uncomfortable Camp Randall were thrilled to have a game to watch considering the conditions. Moreover, the victory gave hope for this young team looking to aspire to greatness.