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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Ranking biggest wins for Badger football, basketball, since 2010

Most exciting victories from storied history of Badger football, basketball programs
Justin Mielke

Over the past decade, Wisconsin has built a reputation of being one of the most consistent, successful athletic programs in the country. Since 2010, Badger men’s basketball and football have a combined win percentage of .708, which is the 5th highest in all of NCAA Division 1.

Though neither team has won a national championship recently, they have each earned many honors. The men’s basketball team has made the NCAA Tournament in 22 of the past 23 years, and the football team has made it to a bowl game every year since 2002.

Here are the five of the biggest and most memorable victories these teams have had since 2010.


Basketball: Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin shock unbeaten Kentucky in Final Four (2015)

The 2014-2015 team was one of the best teams Wisconsin basketball has ever assembled. Led by Naismith Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky, the Badgers, a one seed in the tournament, headed into this game with an impressive 35-3 record.

But the Badgers were still viewed as huge underdogs in this game, as they faced a seemingly unbeatable 38-0 Kentucky team. With an entire starting lineup of eventual NBA players, Kentucky had a much more talented roster.

Heading into halftime, the game was tied at 36. Despite being the smaller and less talented team, Wisconsin was still able to play their brand of basketball. Kaminsky was dominating down low in the post as he led all scorers with 20 points. Forwards Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes each hit two 3-pointers and scored double digits.

The Badgers gained a solid lead in the final few minutes and were able to seal the game with free throws down the stretch from Kaminsky and point guard Bronson Koenig, who finished the game with 12 points. The Badgers ended up squeaking out a 71-64 victory, and the entire Wisconsin bench stormed the court as the final buzzer sounded. Kentucky players walked off in disbelief.

Football: Big Ten Championship shootout win over Michigan State (2011)

The 2011 Big Ten Championship, which was the inaugural Big Ten conference-title game, was an instant classic. Wisconsin had an elite roster, led by senior quarterback Russell Wilson and Heisman candidate running back Montee Ball. The Badgers were contenders for the National Championship but lost two very close games in heartbreaking fashion during the regular season.

One of those losses came to Michigan State on a last-second Hail Mary. The Badgers came out thirsty for revenge, jumping out to a whopping 21-0 lead in the first quarter. The tables turned in the second quarter, as Kirk Cousins and the Spartans scored 22 unanswered points.

The Badgers found themselves down 34-39 with about seven minutes left to play. With four minutes left, the Badgers had a fourth and six at midfield and elected to go for it.

Wilson dropped back and threw up a ball in desperation to wide receiver Jeff Duckworth. Duckworth, who was in double coverage, was able to make a miraculous catch within the 10-yard line to keep Wisconsin’s hopes alive. On the very next play, Ball barreled his way into the end zone for his third touchdown of the game.

This was a huge statement win for Wisconsin, as they were able to claim their second-straight Big Ten title and earn themselves a bid in the Rose Bowl.

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Football: No. 1 Ohio State stunned under the lights at Camp Randall (2010)

The Badgers, who came into the contest at 5-1, ranked 18th in the country, knew they had a big test at hand with No. 1 Ohio State (6-0) coming into town. The Badgers started the game with a great deal of momentum, as senior wide receiver David Gilreath returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.

The Badgers were a run-heavy offense and had a very balanced ground attack this game. John Clay led the way with 21 carries for over 100 yards and two touchdowns. James White added 84 all-purpose yards and two rushing touchdowns. The defense was anchored by J.J. Watt, who finished the game with three sacks.

The Badgers led for the entirety of the game and won the game by a final score of 31-18. This was the first and only loss Ohio State suffered that season. It was Wisconsin’s first win over a No. 1 ranked opponent since 1981. The fans stormed the field after the win, which went down as one of the most memorable nights in the history of Camp Randall and Wisconsin Football.

Basketball: Ben Brust’s half court buzzer beater takes down No. 3 Michigan (2013)

Halfway through their Big Ten Campaign, unranked Wisconsin (17-8) took on a red-hot Michigan team, who were ranked third in the country and only had two losses in the season. The game was neck-and-neck, with neither team able to take any sort of comfortable lead.

With less than 10 seconds left, the game was tied at 57. Michigan brought it down the court, and Michigan’s star shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. came off a screen and hit a very contested 3-pointer with three seconds left to play.

Wisconsin would need a miracle to tie it up. Coach Bo Ryan called a timeout to draw up a play. Wisconsin forward Mike Bruesewitz went to inbound the ball from under his basket and heaved it to guard Ben Brust who was streaking across midcourt. Brust caught it in stride, took one dribble, threw up a prayer and drained it at the buzzer to tie it at 60. The Kohl Center went wild, and the game headed into overtime.

Just like in regulation, neither Wisconsin nor Michigan could create any sort of lead. Heading into the final minute, the game was tied 62-62. With about 40 seconds left, Brust hit yet another clutch shot to break the tie and put the Badgers up 65-62. The Badgers were able to lock up on the defensive end and secure the win.

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Football: Barry Alvarez-led Badgers squeak out OT win in Outback Bowl (2015)

The Outback Bowl was played on New Year’s Day of 2015 and was between No. 19 Auburn (8-4) and No. 17 ranked Wisconsin (10-3). Wisconsin was coming off of an embarrassing 59-0 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship game.

Following the defeat, Gary Andersen, the coach of the Badgers for that 2014-2015 season, surprisingly decided to part ways with Wisconsin.

Though this was unexpected, it did not alter the team’s motivation for their final game. Wisconsin coaching legend and athletic director Barry Alvarez decided to fill in as the interim head coach.

It was a back-and-forth game between two high-power run heavy offenses. Melvin Gordon, in his final game as a Badger, led the way with a whopping stat line of 34 carries for 251 yards, which is the most in Outback Bowl history, along with three touchdowns.

Auburn took a late 31-28 lead with just under three minutes to go, as running back Cameron Artis-Payne scored on a two-yard rushing touchdown. Quarterback Joel Stave and the Badgers were able to rally down the field into field goal range, as kicker Rafael Gaglianone hit a last second field goal to knot it up at 31.

In overtime, the Wisconsin defense was able to hold Auburn scoreless, and Gaglianone hit a game winning field goal from 35 yards out to give the Badgers a 34-31 win. This was a great sendoff for Alvarez, as it ended up being the final game he coached for the Badgers.

Honorable Mention: Basketball: Chucky’s big shot clinches share of Big Ten title (2022)

Heading into the 2021-2022 campaign, Wisconsin basketball was not expected to do very well. They lost a loaded senior class consisting of D’Mitrik Trice, Aleem Ford, Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers. Most “experts” predicted the Badgers to finish toward the bottom of the Big Ten standings.

Wisconsin proved these doubters wrong, as they had a huge win early in the season over No. 12 Houston en route to winning the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. This success continued throughout conference play, and the Badgers eventually had a chance to clinch a share of the Big Ten Regular Season Title in front of the home fans at Kohl Center against Purdue.

This was a highly anticipated game as Purdue was ranked No. 8 in the country, and Wisconsin was 10th. Both teams were fighting for a top spot in the Big Ten Standings. The game was as advertised, as it was close the entire way.

After Wisconsin’s Brad Davison missed the front end of a one-and-one, Purdue’s star, Jaden Ivey tied the game at 67 a piece, by hitting a 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining. As soon as Ivey hit the shot, the Badgers quickly inbounded the ball to true freshman, point guard Chucky Hepburn. Hepburn confidently dribbled up the sideline and banked in a stepback 3-pointer in front of Wisconsin’s bench to win it.

This was the highlight of a very memorable season of Badger basketball. Hepburn and the rest of the key returning players including Tyler Wahl and Steven Crowl will have to step up this year, as they lost superstar guard Johnny Davis to the NBA draft and their veteran leader Brad Davidson, who finished up his 5th and final year of his college career.

Though Wisconsin’s football and basketball programs have many big wins in the past, it is certain more of these iconic moments are to come.

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