The crowd of nearly 80,000 at Camp Randall Stadium hardly knew what hit them on Oct. 6, 2001.
It was simply the most dominant quarter of football in Indiana history, and no one saw it coming.
The Hoosiers had opened the season 0-3 as head coach Cam Cameron inexplicably tinkered with using All-American quarterback Antwaan Randle El as a wide receiver to open the season.
Wisconsin entered the game 3-2 and 1-0 in the Big Ten. The Badgers were 19-6 in the two prior seasons including a trip to the Rose Bowl after the 1999 campaign.
Needless to say, Wisconsin was a big favorite against Indiana, but any thoughts of a Badger blowout win evaporated quickly into the chilly Madison sky.
IU scored twice on its first three plays from scrimmage and jumped out to a 32-0 lead by the end of the first quarter in Madison.
When it was mercifully over for the Badgers, records were shattered. Indiana recorded 449 rushing yards and was paced by senior running back Levron Williams, who rushed for a career-high 280 yards and six touchdowns on only 20 carries. Williams set the IU record for touchdowns in a game and became just the second player in history to record six touchdowns in a Big Ten Conference game.
Indiana’s defense helped fuel the early surge with two three-and-outs to open the game and a takeaway on Wisconsin’s third possession when senior linebacker Justin Smith forced a Wisconsin fumble that was recovered at the Badger 39 by cornerback Sharrod Wallace.
Williams scored on runs of 6, 56 and 3 yards on each of the ensuing IU possessions to give Indiana a 20-0 first quarter lead with 9:32 still remaining in the opening period. His three scores came in a span of three minutes and just seven IU plays.
After forcing Wisconsin into another three-and-out on possession four, IU junior Brian Lewis blocked a Badger punt and Duane Stone took it in from 10 yards out for a touchdown that gave IU a 26-0 lead.
After both teams traded punts, Wallace forced a Wisconsin fumble that defensive end Herman Fowler recovered at the Badger 42. Four plays later, senior quarterback Antwaan Randle El found tight end Aaron Halterman on a 4-yard pass play that gave IU the incomprehensible 32-0 first quarter lead.
Randle El completed 8 of 13 passes for 182 yards and one score and rushed 14 times for 102 yards on the afternoon.
Wisconsin recovered for a moment and cut the IU lead to 32-10 on a 43-yard scoring pass from quarterback Brooks Bollinger to Lee Evans. But IU pushed its advantage to 39-10 with 3:10 remaining in the first half on an 8-yard run by Williams.
Indiana outscored Wisconsin 21-15 in the second half for the 63-32 win.
The 63 points scored by Indiana is a school record for points scored in a Big Ten game and the most points they had scored in any contest in 77 years. The point total matched the most points ever scored against the Badgers as Wisconsin surrendered 63 points to Minnesota on November 15, 1890.
It was Indiana’s first win in nearly a full calendar year. They would not win again until Nov. 3 when they beat Northwestern and won four of five to close the season. The Hoosiers would not win again in Madison until 2020.
Video credit – Galen Clavio
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