November 18, 1961. The Wisconsin Badgers entered their game with Illinois with an unremarkable 4-3 record, but that was deceptive. The Badgers’ three losses had come at the hands of nationally ranked teams — #10 Michigan State, #4 Iowa, and #6 Ohio State.
The game at Camp Randall against Illinois would show that Wisconsin was no slouch, despite a mediocre win-loss record. Wisconsin pounded the Illini, and one of the highlights came from Pat Richter, the Badgers’ 10th-leading receiver all-time.
Richter racked up 170 yards receiving that day, but his best play of the day was a 56-yard grab that he still remembers — not because it was so pretty.
“I caught a pass behind a defensive back and kind of really stretched out for it. It looked like one of those goony birds landing. I just could not get my balance up, and I must have ran 20 or 25 yards, and then finally just belly flopped. It was just kind of embarrassing.”
Richter’s catch wasn’t pretty, but it helped Wisconsin to a 55-7 win, the teams biggest victory ever over the Illini.
The win also set up a big finale for the Badgers the very next week, when they finally won over a ranked opponent. Wisconsin finished the regular season by knocking off #3 Minnesota in Minneapolis 23-21.
Shining Moments in Badger History are sponsored by Marshfield Clinic.
AUDIO: Shining Moments radio feature for 10-14-13 Badgers biggest win over Illinois