At Wisconsin, where the running game is religion, wide-out Lee Evans has had to learn to make the most of limited opportunities. The 5'11", 202-pound senior did just that last Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison in the Badgers' upset of third-ranked Ohio State. After waiting the better part of four quarters for someone to throw him the ball, he took his only reception of the day 79 yards for the winning touchdown. "Early in the game I had some opportunities where I was open and the ball just didn't come my way," said Evans, who was covered most of the night by Chris Gamble, the Buckeyes' superstar cornerback. "I stayed patient and let the game come to me."
It was fitting that Evans's score was set up by two players who don't usually get to shine in Madison. The pass was thrown by backup quarterback Matt Schabert, who was pressed into duty midway through the third quarter after Ohio State linebacker Robert Reynolds—in a move that had the Wisconsin sideline roiling in anger—jabbed his fingers in starter Jim Sorgi's neck while Sorgi was on the ground, causing the Badgers quarterback to gasp for air, rendering him temporarily unable to speak and forcing coach Barry Alvarez to pull him from the game. Before Schabert's pass, the heavy lifting on offense had been done by third-string tailback Booker Stanley, who was filling in for injured starter Anthony Davis. A 5'10", 207-pound redshirt freshman, Stanley carried the ball 31 times for 125 yards, running right over the nation's top-ranked rush defense, which had given up an average of just 43-4 yards a game. "I think a lot of teams were kind of afraid to try to run on them," said Schabert. "Teams were spreading out and just trying to throw the ball."
The Wisconsin players did not buy into the notion of an Ohio State mystique. The Badgers' front four kept the pressure on quarterback Craig Krenzel, who was sacked three times and put on his back on several other occasions. "On film their offensive line looked pretty slow," said Wisconsin defensive tackle Anttaj Hawthorne, who had two sacks and two hurries. "They were real slow off the ball. I was faking inside and going outside, and getting around pretty much every time."
At the conclusion of the game the fans at Camp Randall stormed the field in a futile attempt to tear down the goalposts. What did lie in ruins was Ohio State's 19-game winning streak and the team's reputation for pulling out close games in the fourth quarter, something the Buckeyes had done 10 times during the streak. Worse yet, Reynolds's shocking behavior further tarnished an Ohio State image sullied by the off-season controversy surrounding Maurice Clarett. On Sunday, Reynolds apologized for losing his poise, and a day later Ohio State suspended him for a game, but damage had already been done. "I lost all respect for any of them, the whole bench, the coaches, whoever was on that sideline," said Wisconsin center Donovan Raiola. Added Evans, " Ohio State is a great program, but for those guys to do something like that to our quarterback is one of the lowest things I've seen done in a football game." Hardly a fitting epitaph for a national champion.