No. 1 Southern Cal 42,
No. 2 Badgers 37
Jan. 1, 1963
For a little more than three quarters in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle, it looked as if UW was going to repeat its forgettable performance from three years earlier.
Not only did Ron Vander Kelen, Pat Richter and Co. make sure second-ranked UW wouldn’t be on the receiving end of another rout, the Badgers produced 12 amazing minutes to turn the game into one that still is remembered as a classic.
Quarterback Pete Beathard was 8-for-12 for 190 yards and four touchdowns for USC (11-0), which built a 42-14 lead early in the fourth quarter after Beathard found end Fred Hill for a 13-yard score.
But Vander Kelen, a senior quarterback from Green Bay, and the Badgers answered with 23 consecutive points to pull within five. Lou Holland scored on a 13-yard run and Vander Kelen, who passed for 401 yards, sandwiched scoring passes to halfback Gary Kroner and Richter around a safety that was the result of a bad snap on a punt.
Richter’s touchdown came with just 79 seconds left. The Trojans tried to waste time on the ensuing drive by having their running backs intentionally lose yardage but they were still forced to punt.
UW had three players break through the line and nearly blocked the punt, but USC was able to get it off. Holland caught it at the UW 44-yard line but was hit immediately and time ran out on the Badgers (8-2).
Path to Pasadena
The Badgers recovered from their only setback of the regular season – a 14-7 loss at Ohio State – with four consecutive victories, including a 14-9 win over No. 5 Minnesota in the finale. USC allowed just 55 points en route to a 10-0 record during the regular season.
USC was ranked No. 1 and UW was ranked No. 2. Neither team was ranked in the top 10 to start the season.
“We were surprised that they hit us so hard in the beginning. But nobody was desperate. We knew we could come back.” — Vander Kelen, on the mood in the UW locker room at halftime
By the numbers
163: Receiving yards on 11 receptions for Richter, who would return to Pasadena with UW 31 years later as the athletic director.