It could well have ended Rice 7, Wisconsin 6 but for an old-fashioned, block-busting kind of fullback named Alan Ameche who can run through a damn brick wall.
Twice in the final quarter Rice stopped Wisconsin drives within the five. Goal-line stands are rare these days and after the Owls stopped the second drive, it began to look as though they'd stop the Badgers. Then Wisconsin drove again. With 55 seconds to play, the Badgers had the ball, second down, on Rice's one. Ameche took the ball and went block-bustin' into the line. Nobody stopped him. The point was good. The score: Wisconsin 13, Rice 7.
There was a full house of 52,819 fans on hand at Camp Randall Stadium and millions more saw the game on TV. I don't know how Ameche struck the fans but he reminded me of Army's Doc Blanchard. He's a sort of Blanchard without speed, not a guy who'll break away but a guy who'll get you three or four yards every time.
October 18, 1954
Most of the time Wisconsin was working Ameche in the "belly play," so called because the quarterback places the ball in the stomach of the fullback (Ameche) on a fake, takes it away and pitches out to the halfback. But on the winning touchdown when the quarterback slammed the ball into Ameche's belly he was not faking. Ameche kept the ball and slanted off tackle for the touchdown.
This was the winning play but the day's most beautiful was the one that gave Rice its touchdown. The swing was to the right and it looked just as if Dicky Moegle, a sensational left half-back, was going to carry off tackle. But after some snappy feinting, Quarterback John Nisbet still had the ball and Moegle was busy decoying. Nisbet threw a pass to Left End Lamoine Holland, the only receiver downfield. Holland was all alone, 15 yards away, in the end zone.
First time Wisconsin scored, Ameche bucked over after a 70-yard first-period march. Later in the quarter came Rice's score and that's the way it stood when the second half began. Then, when it counted most, Wisconsin was the better team. The Badgers used masked seven- and eight-man lines: lines that look like sevens or eights until a pass is thrown. Then a lot of men drop back and you see it's only a four or five. Rice went with a straight seven-man line for the most part but the ends went wide to cover flankers.
Moegle, with his great running and pass catching was Rice's best threat. He had some pretty flashy advance billing but he's a pretty flashy back and he lived up to it. Ameche was solid and that couldn't have surprised anyone. He's been Wisconsin's best ground-gainer for three years.
For Coach Jess Neely it was a heart-breaker and, of course, for unbeaten Wisconsin it was a fine victory. For all the fans, TV and in person, the game was just perfect—clean, well played and exciting.
Next Week—WEST VIRGINIA vs. PENN STATE at State College, Pa.
HICKMAN'S HUNCHES for Games of Saturday, Oct. 16th
•Wisconsin vs. Purdue. The Boilermakers came from behind to tie Duke. In Madison a fullback by the name of Ameche blasted Rice 13-7. Either way but...WISCONSIN.
•Duke vs. Army. Army is improving week by week. It's tough one at Durham, where no Southern hospitality is intended...DUKE.
•Penn State vs. West Virginia. The Mountaineers were not impressive last week in their 13-7 win over George Washington. The Nittany Lions continued their winning ways. Both are undefeated. PENN STATE.
•Tennessee vs. Alabama. This will be a toe-to-toe struggle. It could be a tie, but—ALABAMA.
•Ohio State vs. Iowa. The Buckeyes get warmer and warmer. However, Iowa could be right to hand them their first setback. IOWA.
•U.C.L.A. vs. Stanford. The Uclans were pressed by Washington. The gallant Stanford Indians were finally brought to bay by Navy last Saturday. U.C.L.A. was ripe for ah upset, but not this week. U.C.L.A.
•Notre Dame vs. Michigan State. The Spartans finally hit pay dirt, last Saturday. This game could be a dilly. My hunch is—NOTRE DAME.
•Iowa State vs. Colorado. Iowa State has been surprisingly strong, but the men from Boulder have their eyes set on the Orange Bowl. COLORADO.
•Yale vs. Cornell. The howls of the Wolves can be heard far above Cayuga's waters. The Elis have three workmanlike wins. YALE.
•Oregon vs. Southern California. This is the TV game of the week and might decide the Rose Bowl representative. The Trojans have the horses. SOUTHERN CAL.
Georgia Tech over Auburn
Texas over Arkansas
Princeton over Brown
Oklahoma over Kansas
Navy over Pitt
Minnesota over Illinois
Rice over Southern Methodist
Arizona over Idaho
Florida over Kentucky
California over Washington State
Mississippi over Tulane
T.C.U. over Texas A. & M.
Maryland over North Carolina
Colgate over Dartmouth
Virginia Tech over Richmond
Last week's hunches: 17 right, 5 wrong, 2 ties
Record to date: 61—19—3