Wolverines Blown to Smitherines

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From the dictionary: Smitherines – “To be violently taken apart to a point it could never recognized or be put back together again. It would be like filling a football with nitroglycerin and setting it off, the microscopic pieces would be considered blown to smitherines.”

The pic. above was the scoreboard less than 20 minutes into the game. Wisconsin 35, Michigan 0. From 1902-31 – three decades – Wisconsin scored a TOTAL of 23 points against the Wolverines. From 1977-80, Michigan shut out Wisconsin four times in a row. In the 1970s, the AVERAGE score of the Michigan/Wisconsin game was 38-9. In the 1980s, the AVERAGE score of the Michigan/Wisconsin game was 32-10.

Game highlights: The Badgers won time of possession 41:07 to 18:53. Michigan had 4 turnovers, Wisconsin none…rushing yards: Wisconsin 359, Michigan only 40…Jack Coen, the Wisconsin quarterback, was 13 for 16 for 128 yards…the Badgers had 57 rushing plays compared to only 16 passing plays.

Our table at the W Club

My day began around 6 am (the middle of my night!). We got up, drove to a mall where we met my fraternity brother, Gene Lillge (on the right in the pic.). When Gene was a student, he wrote the article(s) on Wisconsin football for the Appleton Post Crescent Newspaper…so he was in the Press Box during games. We got on a city bus (just $1 for seniors) and headed downtown. On the way down, I chatted with a gentleman from Wales, who was on holiday (vacation). He went to the game and we happened to land on the same bus going back to the mall after the game. I explained a few things about the game we saw to him. Football in Great Britain is soccer.

On the left in the pic. above is fraternity brother and former Wisconsin football player, Mike Levenhagen. He got us into the “W Club” at Camp Randall…this is only for those who earned a letter playing a varsity sport for Wisconsin. There’s food, beverages and some excellent sports conversation.

Halftime – Wisconsin/Michigan game 2019

This is halftime of the game…over 80,000 in attendance…color coordinated sections in red and white (we wore red). The crowd did “the wave” forward, backward, in slow motion and in double time. We did “Jump Around” at the end of the third quarter and sang songs…even when the music stopped, the crowd kept singing. When the announcer said, “first down, Wisconsin” – the crowd repeated “first down, Wisconsin”.

Bill Steffen at the Wisconsin/Michigan game

Here’s a pic. of me at the game. It seemed odd to see the Wisconsin Band without Director, Michael Lackrone, who recently retired after 50 (that’s right, FIFTY) years as director of the Wisconsin Band. A Wisconsin tradition is the “5th Quarter”, when the band plays an extra 15 minutes after the game (then marches down University Avenue to play in front of the U.W. Hospital. They wheel patients to the windows to watch and listen to the show.

Other Saturday notables: Ohio State scored 42 points in just the 2nd quarter in a 76-5 route of Miami (OH). Notre Dame came “oh so close” in an away game with Georgia and SMU (my daughter went to law school there) is now 4-0 after beating top-25 ranked TCU on the road. Washington State and UCLA are 63-60 with over 5 minutes left in the game as I type this (defense?).

Tonight, we’re at a motel in Fond Du Lac – heading to Green Bay. It’s been a memorable day!

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