September 27, 1997. After a season-opening loss to Syracuse, Wisconsin’s 1997 football team was riding a three-game winning streak heading into its matchup at Camp Randall with Indiana. It looked like the streak would end there with less than a minute left in the game and the Hoosiers leading 26-24. That’s when kicker Matt Davenport stepped up.
After the Badgers took over with 53 seconds remaining, they drove 31 yards in seven plays, setting up Davenport’s heroics. He booted it through from 43 yards out to give Wisconsin a come-from-behind 27-26 victory.
“I was just very confident in the preparation I had put in,” says Davenport. “For kickers, it’s one time. You can’t worry about the outcome. Work as hard as you can leading up to that position, and just make good contact.”
It turned out Davenport would make good contact two weeks in a row, and both in game-winning situations. The very next week against Northwestern, Davenport delivered a game-winning field goal that delivered a 26-25 win for the Badgers.
That season, Wisconsin finished with an 8-5 record, ending with a loss to Georgia in the Outback Bowl. Davenport earned All-Big Ten honors for his kicking, and ended up leaving Wisconsin with the highest field goal percentage in the school’s history.