Fantastic Football

Wisconsin pulls off a win for Badger homecoming

Claire Schoenemann

More stories from Claire Schoenemann


Photo by Marisa Valdez

As someone who grew up in a small, rural town outside of Madison, I remember being an overwhelmed and excited child when our family ventured into the capital, even for a quick run to Target. 

The excitement of all the crowds, toys and bustle of the city was overwhelming. I lit up with excitement when my brother and I got to the new Hot Wheels aisle. 

The feeling was similar upon my arrival to downtown Madison on Friday, Oct. 21. More than 24 hours prior to the Badger homecoming football game, Wisconsinites were swarming the streets of Madison. 

Decked out in red and white Badger gear, the party seemed never-ending before it had even begun. 

After two years worth of procrastinating a ‘college kid’ weekend in Madison, I made the trek on Friday to visit an old high school friend. I hadn’t been to a Badger game since I was 11, so to say the Camp Randall visit was overdue is an understatement. 

When Saturday morning rolled around, I was left with the same exhilaration that I felt when I was 11, sporting a red ‘W’ on my cheek. For one thing, I don’t remember the streets being so full of drunk and rowdy college kids back then. 

I’m sure they were, I was just too excited to notice. Being in the gameday environment as a 19-year-old college student is an entirely different mindset. 

The moral of the story here is that I had a great time in Madison. The live and up-close gameday experience makes for a perfect Fantastic Football feature. 

The good news is that the tailgate energy carried right into the game. Badgers faced the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 2:30 p.m. 

I arrived at the game partway through the first quarter to find myself shocked at the score. The Badgers were winning. 

In the first quarter of the game, the Badgers scored twice and left Purdue in the dust. The final score at the end of the first quarter was a whopping 14-0. 

This performance is out of character for Badgers this season. Their average number of points scored in the first quarter prior to the game was 4.7. 

To add to the excitement, Wisconsin’s success didn’t stop there. Come the second quarter, the Badgers scored again. 

This touchdown set Wisconsin up for success. The team had scored 21 points in the first fifteen minutes of play, and the score was 21-3. 

Despite the exciting score, there was still time for Purdue to make up lost ground. Both teams scored again, and the score was 28-10 when there was 2:42 remaining in the third quarter. 

Running back Isaac Guerendo received the ball, cut all the way upfield and scored on a 54-yard run to the end zone. 

To say the energy was high in the student section would be an understatement because the crowd lit up with excitement. 

Energy from this game-closing touchdown carried fans to the end of the third quarter.

Any true Wisconsinite knows that this point in Badger football is the highlight of the game, win or lose. ‘Jump Around’ blares through Camp Randall, and fans of all ages are suddenly unhinged. 

The game wrapped up in the fourth quarter after Purdue scored two more times, and the final homecoming game score was a win for the Badgers, 35-24

A determining factor in the game was Badger quarterback Graham Mertz. Mertz pulled through for the Badgers on Saturday after he threw 203 yards and two touchdowns. Mertz also had no turnovers against the Boilermakers. 

Another game highlight was wide receiver Skyler Bell. Bell caught all four of his receiving passes for 87 total yards and a touchdown under his belt.

This game-winning performance left the Badgers with a 4-4 record for the season heading into the bye week. 

In their next game, they will face the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday, Nov. 5. 

Schoenemann can be reached at [email protected]