On a night hot enough to make a jalapeno sweat, Badger fans didn’t have to sweat through a nailbiter. Camp Randall Stadium was the scene for a rare Thursday night contest to open the 2011 season. Although fans were anxious to see the defending Big Ten co champion Badgers, all eyes were on senior transfer quarterback, Russell Wilson. A legend had hit Madison and he hadn’t even taken a snap yet.
In a buzzed up environment, Wilson met expectations as he led Wisconsin on the opening drive scoring with a touchdown pass to Montee Ball. Okay, sure, this is UNLV, which recently has been standing for “Usually Never Leaving as Victors.” But still, Wilson showed an effortlessness that hadn’t been seen in Madison from the QB position in a long time. Late in the first half, he demonstrated this with a lightning quick 46 yard touchdown run. Yes, run…from a Wisconsin quarterback. Fans screaming in awe and excitement realized that Wisconsin was not only about to demolish the Rebels, but perhaps compete for a Big Ten Title (and maybe more) all in that 46 yard waltz. As the third quarter arrived, the Badgers kept the heat on. Wilson took a seat late in the third with Wisconsin up by 41, and you could sense that fans were only waiting around to celebrate the traditional “jump around” between the third and fourth quarters. Sure enough, once House of Pain was done being played, folks bolted for the exits to get home and rest up for tomorrow’s workday. But, those seats would certainly be filled all season long with the hype that the Badgers left on the field. For our crew, this was the first of four games this weekend…now off to Annapolis!