Orange Bowl graphic.

Badger Bowl Firsts

First played on January 1, 1935, the Orange Bowl is the second-oldest bowl game in the country. (The Rose Bowl is the oldest.) And your Wisconsin Badgers are set to make their first appearance in this storied bowl. This will be the team’s 29th bowl overall and the 16th in a row. In that span, the Badgers have experienced a number of other firsts. Here are some of the most memorable.

  1. Wisconsin’s first bowl play was in the Granddaddy of Them All: the Rose Bowl of 1953, held on January 1.
  2. The first time the Badgers scored any points in a bowl game would have to wait until their second-ever bowl appearance: a 44–8 Rose Bowl loss to the Washington Huskies on January 1, 1960.
  3. The first bowl matchup between #1 (USC) and #2 (Wisconsin) in college football history resulted in a Rose Bowl classic. In the game, played on January 1, 1963, the Badgers staged a legendary fourth-quarter comeback that came up just short: they lost 42–37.
  4. Wisconsin’s first non–Rose Bowl bowl game was the Garden State Bowl on December 13, 1981: a 28–21 loss to Tennessee.
  5. A 14–3 win over Kansas State in the Independence Bowl on December 11, 1982, allowed the Badgers to notch their first bowl victory.
  6. Breakthrough! Wisconsin earned its first Rose Bowl victory on January 1, 1994: a 21–16 thriller over UCLA.
  7. In Ron Dayne’s first bowl appearance — the Copper Bowl on December 27, 1996 — he put on quite a Dayne-like performance, finishing with 246 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
  8. With a 38–31 win over UCLA on January 1, 1999; and 17–9 victory over Stanford on January 1, 2000, Wisconsin became the first Big Ten school in history to win the Rose Bowl in back-to-back seasons.
  9. In the first Wisconsin-Miami meeting in a bowl game, the Badgers defeated the Hurricanes 20–14 in the Champs Sports Bowl on December 29, 2009.
  10. On January 1, 2013, Barry Alvarez came out of retirement for the first time to coach a game: a 20–14 loss to Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
  11. Montee Ball became the first player to score touchdowns and rush for 100+ yards in three different Rose Bowls, the final one being on January 1, 2013.
  12. Melvin Gordon was the first running back to rush for an Outback Bowl record of 251 yards and three touchdowns in a 34–31 win over Auburn on January 1, 2015.
  13. It took seven tries (including two Rose Bowl matchups), but the Badgers’ first win over USC occurred in the Holiday Bowl on December 30, 2015, with a final score of 23–21.