Remembering Camp Randall: Gilreath's return highlights memorable 100 years at The Camp

Melvin Gordon record-setting day on the ground against Nebraska in 2014 is one of the best moments ever at Camp Randall Stadium. 

Image By: Thomas Yonash

In honor of 100 years of football at Camp Randall Stadium, The Daily Cardinal looks back at the top five football moments at The Camp.

5) October 1st, 2011 vs Nebraska- One of the most hyped games in Wisconsin history would prove to be a memorable day for Badger fans, and a forgettable one for Cornhusker fans. After joining the conference at the conclusion of the 2010 season, No. 8 Nebraska rolled into Madison for its first ever Big 10 contest with a head full of steam coming off four straight wins to open the season with an average margin of victory just above two touchdowns. Joining the team on its trip to Madison were an estimated 20,000 Nebraska faithful, as well as ESPNs College Gameday crew which added to the anticipation of the game. All of this set the stage for one of Coach Bret Bielema’s signature wins in a game that was a lot more convincing than most expected. The Badgers steamrolled their new conference foes 48-17 on the backs of quarterback Russell Westbrook, who threw for 255 yards and accounted for three scores, and running back Montee Ball, who ran for 151 yards and scored four touchdowns. This game would help catapult the Badgers to their second of three straight Rose Bowl appearances.

4) November 14th, 1953 vs. Illinois- The No.3 Illini came into town undefeated, boasting two signature wins, including a 19-3 victory against No. 17 Michigan in the week prior. Unfortunately for Illinois, nothing it had seen yet could prepare it for junior tailback and linebacker Alan Ameche. Ameche, who would finish his Wisconsin career as the NCAA leader in career yardage, had one of his finest performances that day at Camp Randall. After Illinois struck first to take a 7-0 lead, the Badgers answered back with 34 unanswered points in a blowout 27-point victory. Led by Ameche, who had 145 yards on 17 carries, Wisconsin handed Illinois its only loss of the year. The win catapulted “The Iron Horse” into the national spotlight, a position he would continue to hold all the way through his famous 1954 senior campaign in which he became Wisconsin’s first winner of the Heisman trophy.

3) November 15th, 2014 vs. Nebraska- When No. 11 Nebraska marched into Madison to take on the No. 22 Badgers on a snowy November night, a handful of great storylines emerged before the ball was even kicked off. The two teams announced that they would be playing for the rights to a new prize, The Freedom Trophy, which put a name on an already intense rivalry between the two programs. In addition to this, both Wisconsin and Nebraska owned two of the best run defenses in the country (No. 5 and No. 15 respectively) as well as two of the nation’s best running backs, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, and Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon. While the Badgers’ defense proved its worth against Abdullah, allowing him to run for only 69 yards on 18 attempts, the Cornhuskers had a bit of a tougher time containing Gordon. The junior from Kenosha racked up an eye popping 408 yards on the ground, an NCAA record, as well as four touchdowns—and he did it all in only three quarters of play. The Badgers trailed 17-3 in the second quarter but had no problem coming back against the Huskers, as they ripped off 56 consecutive points on the back of Gordon, who had runs of 42, 62, 39, 44, 43 and 68 yards. When asked about his mentality going into the game, Gordon mentioned that he received some extra motivation after Big Ten Network pundits criticized him earlier in the season after a poor performance against FCS opponent Western Illinois—even going as far as saying he didn’t belong in the same sentence as Abdullah. “I marked that game on the calendar…I was going to make sure that whoever said that was going to eat their words,” Gordon said. It’s safe to say Gordon delivered on that promise.

2) November 13th, 1999 vs. Iowa- The Badgers’ final regular season game of the 1999 season was about as perfect as a game can get. Wisconsin blew past the Hawkeyes 41-3, securing its second straight trip to the Rose Bowl and first outright Big Ten title since 1962. It was also legendary running back Ron Dayne’s last game at Camp Randall, and Wisconsin pulled out all the stops to make sure nobody would forget it. Each fan received a white towel with Dayne’s number 33 on it, and when the game ended they surprised the New Jersey native with a postgame reveal of his name and number adorned across the façade of the stadium. As far as his actual performance that day, Dayne made sure to deliver a memorable last game in Madison. He ran for 216 yards on 27 carries, passing Ricky Williams for the most career rushing yards in NCAA history. His record breaking run was a 31-yard dash to the right side on his 14th carry of the day. Dayne wasn’t done yet however, as the star running back and three time All American would go on to win the school’s second Heisman trophy, and lead Wisconsin to victory over Stanford in the Rose Bowl, making the Badgers the first Big Ten team to win “The Grandaddy of Them All” in consecutive years.

1) October 16th, 2010 vs Ohio State- Camp Randall has developed a reputation of being one of the loudest stadiums in college football. Perhaps its loudest moment was in 2010 during a primetime nationally televised game against Ohio State, when just 11 seconds into the contest senior wide receiver David Gilreath ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown— the start of to a 31-18 upset victory. The No. 1 Buckeyes came into Madison with one of the nation’s most threatening offenses, led by Heisman candidate quarterback Terrell Pryor. However, this game went the Badgers’ way from the get go, as Wisconsin ran the ball right at the Buckeyes’ defense and stifled Pryor and OSU’s offense on the way to a commanding 21-0 lead early in the game. Ohio State would fight back to make it 21-18 in the fourth quarter, but a late touchdown run by James White and a 41-yard field goal gave the Badgers a 13-point lead late in the contest. After linebacker Blake Sorensen intercepted Pryor with 1:13 left in the game, UW clinched the upset and Camp Randall erupted. Through 100 years of memorable Badger moments at the legendary stadium, this 2010 upset of the nation’s top ranked team,Wisconsin’s first since 1981, serves to be perhaps the best of them all.

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