Yet here were the 10th-rated Badgers running over the Liberty Bowl--bound Spartans on the power of two churning little pistons, 5' 9" running backs Moss and Terrell Fletcher. Moss, whose 133.2-yards-per-game average going into the game was third in the nation, went for 147 yards and two touchdowns on a painful turned ankle. On only 10 carries Fletcher rushed for 112 yards and two TDs, the second of which was a 40-yard streak that gave the Badgers a 17--7 second-quarter lead that would never shrink. Said Moss, "We're the best one-two punch in the nation."
What's more, they are mere juniors. Quarterback Darrell Bevell, who completed 14 of 19 passes for 235 yards against the Spartans and nearly 70% of his passes on the season, is a 23-year-old sophomore, for heaven's sake. But enough of the underclassmen. Sunday's victory was for the seniors. To be sure, the game was for Wisconsin fans—those long-suffering Sheboyganites and loss-weary Oconomowoccers—but it meant the most to those Badgers who had to slog through the '90 season without hip waders or nose plugs. Sunday was for line-backer Yusef Burgess and safety Reggie Holt. The pair was in on 26 tackles against the Spartans.
Sunday was for Panos, a feta-cheesehead whose parents own a couple of restaurants in Milwaukee that serve Greek food. Co-captain Panos was a walk-on in '90. That season he played on the scout team that prepared the Badgers so well for Michigan that they lost to the Wolverines only ... what was it, 41--3?
Now here they all are three years later, world-beaters and world travelers, members of a 9-1-1 team that not only takes your lunch but also eats it with chopsticks. Are sports great, or what? As the Badgers left the field in Tokyo on Sunday, they each clutched a single rose, like 70 men in search of 70 tango partners. Ludicrously, those partners now await in Pasadena.