Did Michigan really have anything to play for? Regardless of the outcome of their game against the Badgers, the Big Ten title still depended on their success against Ohio State next week. Perhaps they were looking ahead and not focusing on the Badgers who needed this win in the worst way. Missing their star wide receiver and standout runningback, Wisconsin would need to play at optimum level to knock of the Wolverines. On senior day, the Badgers would reach that level and take it a step further.
After Michigan’s shocking opening home loss to Appalachian State followed by their self destuction against Oregon, folks began to write off the Wolverines. Since then, however, they have rallied to string together eight straight wins. They may have not all been pretty, but they certainly were effective. Wisconsin had experienced ups and downs all season and really needed the victory to intensify their bowl placement. A rockin’ Camp Randall Stadium cheered their team along as the Badgers stormed out to a 17-0 advantage.
At half, former Heisman trophy winner Ron Dayne was honored at midfield, as former coach and current atheltic director, presented him with the highest honor that any university could bestow. Dayne’s number was retired providing him with a special place in Badger history. The commemorative towels waving around the stadium were suddenly held up reminiscent of the 1999 game against Iowa when similar towels were hoisted up in the same fashion. The tribute on the jumbotron was enough to inspire goosebumps and it just seemed like nothing could interrupt Wisconsin’s success this day.
However, Michigan did jolt back with a 97 yard touchdown pass (longest in Wolverine history) followed by an incredible touchdown catch cutting the Badger lead to two. But, the Badger defense would hold the Wolverines from that point on and tack on a few more scores to notch a dominating 37-21 victory. Defeating Michigan is not an everyday occurrance around these parts and fans hung out for quite a while after the game to soak in the after party and burn the image of the scoreboard in their minds. A crisp autumn day in Madison left all red-wearing partisans with ear-to-ear grins and brought Michigan back down to earth again.