In a failing baritone, Vander Kelen rendered On, Wisconsin from atop his chair, his right hand over his heart, his grin wide and foolish.
The next night there was a rebellion. The rookies refused to sing anything but On, I-o-way, and the veterans, enraged, vowed retaliation. It came with a full-scale water fight that started on the second floor of the dorms and spilled onto the first. Vander Kelen, trapped outside his room, was swamped. "About six guys got me," he said happily. "They were going to shave my head, but they let me off. The water must have been an inch deep on the second floor. It dripped through the ceiling into Van Brocklin's room. He made us towel it up.
"Thursday we're going to have Rookie Night at the school auditorium. A series of impromptu skits. I'm going to play Van Brocklin. No holds barred. It'll be great."
He said he had been told he probably would start this weekend in the exhibition game at Los Angeles, his first trip there since the Rose Bowl game. "You know," he said, "I think I might be going to like pro football."
RECORD AT WISCONSIN: 8-2
PASSING: 124 OF 216 (57.4%), 1,582 YARDS, 14 TDS
RUSHING: 172 CARRIES, 257 YARDS, 3 TDS
IN HIS season as a starter Vander Kelen led Wisconsin to its highest win total in 20 years. More than three decades would pass before the Badgers again won eight games in a season.
HE SET then Rose Bowl records with 48 pass attempts, 33 completions and 401 yards passing.