Well, here’s Wisconsin’s opportunity to bounce back after a disappointing defeat to Penn State last week – take advantage of the little guy and restore confidence. Someone didn’t inform the Badgers that the little guy has decided to choose this weekend to retaliate for being incessantly pounded into the Big Ten cellar. Everything appeared right with the world at the onset of the battle. Wisconsin fans showed in tremendous numbers hollering obnoxiously while Indiana fans reacted as dainty and docile as those attending a debutante ball. Wisconsin students huddled in the end zone preparing to bully everything related to Hoosierland. Indiana students sat quietly and patiently preparing for another Big Ten heartbreak.
We all thought Indiana quarterback Antwaan Randle-El was the wizard behind Indiana’s potentially potent offense. Although he played a big role, his sidekick, tailback Levron Williams took center stage in Camp Randall Stadium this day. Wisconsin entered the game 3-2, while the supposed lowly Hoosiers hadn’t even one victory to flaunt.
After losses to Cincinnati and Michigan three weeks earlier, Wisconsin looked to be settling back into mediocrity. However the flurry of questions surrounding the defending Rose Bowl champions were slowly getting answered with resounding victories at Ohio State and at Minnesota. During the Ohio State game, Wisconsin found the answer to their offensive woes in quarterback Brooks Bollinger. As a replacement for Kavanaugh, Bollinger was more elusive as a runner and efficient as a passer.
That near miss against Boise State three weeks earlier and the lessons it taught the Badgers about how to finish games would pay off in their Big Ten opener against the Hoosiers. Indiana was coming in with a new coach and a new attitude (and new helmets that I hated). In fact, they were one of four Big Ten teams sporting a new leader (Illinois, Purdue, and Minnesota were the others). Cam Cameron was about to coach his first Big Ten match up and he had a challenge coming into a crazy Camp Randall Stadium.
The thud heard coming from the direction of the Rocky Mountains was the Badgers hitting reality after their 55-17 loss to Colorado last week. Following a Rose Bowl season, such results were neither expected nor welcome in Madison. The Hoosiers entered Camp Randall Stadium with rising expectations.