Author: Cole Bayer
On Saturday, November 6th, the University of Wisconsin football team traveled to New Jersey for a 52-3 drubbing of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. If you watched the game and its slew of electric Badger plays, you are already familiar with the lopsided nature of the affair. If you missed the bloodbath, YouTube has some good highlights. You won’t find any game coverage here. This article is dedicated to the events preceding and succeeding the game—and it was an eventful trip, to say the least.
8:30 AM – The team sneaks in its final practice of the week before departing for New Jersey. It’s a tad chilly, but at least there is Olive Garden available for lunch afterward by the locker room. Yum.
1:00 PM – Team buses depart for the Madison airport. At security, an undisclosed star player realizes they forgot their ID, but is ultimately allowed on the plane. Phew. Still hungry, though? Chick-Fil-A awaits team personnel as they board the plane. Whoa, double yum.
6:00 PM (EST) – After a smooth plane ride, the team lands at Newark Airport. But trouble arises on the bus ride to the hotel. Three of the four buses arrive without a hitch; the other, however, misses its turn on three separate occasions, adding another 45 minutes to their trip. The team meeting is even pushed back 15 minutes to accommodate but to no avail. Eventually, the terrible bus ride comes to an end and the last of the players and staff make it to the hotel. There, the team is treated to its traditional Friday feast, with linebacker Nick Herbig and buddies continuing their weekly Connect 4 tournament in the dining hall, which is apparently liable to get pretty intense.
8:15 PM – While the players duke it out in the board game, the team’s student managers catch a train to New York City for a night of urban exploration. Onboard, one manager greets a fellow passenger with a “Hey, how’s it going?” and is promptly met with a “$%&# you!” Classic.
In Manhattan, the managers meander the streets and eventually arrive at Central Park. There, they encounter a squirrel crawling around a tree. Only it turns out to not be a squirrel—it’s an exceptionally large rat. Nice.
The train to return to New Jersey at night’s end is delayed by 20 minutes, but one manager still misses it. He is then forced to Uber back to the Newark hotel, racking up a $70 bill. Ouch.
12:45 PM – After a restful night and a hearty pregame meal, the team departs for Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium. Unlike most other college football venues, the visiting locker room in Piscataway is elevated within the structure. To get there, the team must trek through a loading zone, onto the field and down the sideline, and then up a 200 foot ramp and two sets of stairs. Finally, the team arrives at the destination, slightly out of breath yet ready to prepare for the matchup. The lone caveat: the locker room bathroom is tiny and features no urinals, forcing some individuals to exercise creativity in relieving themselves.
3:30 PM – Kickoff. I know I said game coverage would not be included in this article, but that was a bit of a lie. Included below are only the most crucial moments from the game.
- Q1: Rutgers shoots a mock cannon right before the game starts and scares the crap out of everyone. Rude.
- Q2: A Collin Larsh field goal sails over the stadium’s absurdly low kicking nets and into the arms of some drunk fan in the Rutgers student section. They refuse to return the ball but are then apprehended by security and ejected from the game. Great success.
- Q3: The aforementioned star player who forgot his ID inquires about his stats in the middle of the game. Later, Graham Mertz predicts a touchdown on the first play of a drive and promptly throws a 72-yard touchdown pass to Danny Davis. Clairvoyant.
- Q4: 5’9”, 188 lbs freshman walk-on RB Grover Bortolotti from Whitefish Bay, WI—who made the travel squad as the emergency long snapper—slashes the Rutgers defense to the tune of 48 yards on 5 carries (9.6 YPC). Needless to say, the sideline goes crazy. Grit.
8:00 PM – After the victory, one of the bus drivers transporting the team to the airport tells a few dad jokes and serenades passengers with “Jump Around.” The team plane then takes off for its return voyage to Madison.
11:00 PM (CST) – The team arrives back at Camp Randall, ready to bask in the win for a night but then direct attention to Northwestern preparation the following day.
Check back in a few weeks for a recap of the Badgers’ trip to Minneapolis and the Battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe!