It has been 55 years since Wisconsin beat UCLA, but Roy Bellin remembers the occasion well.
Bellin, 76, of Elm Grove, Wis., was a starting halfback on the 1938 Badger team that beat the Bruins, 14-7, at the Coliseum. He had planned to attend Saturday’s rematch in the Rose Bowl with his wife, Peg, but canceled the trip for health reasons.
“Of course we traveled by train in those days, and we were on the train for two nights,” Bellin said. “There wasn’t anything like Disneyland then, but they took us to MGM Studios, and we had our pictures taken with Lana Turner, Ann Miller and Ann Rutherford. We also saw them filming ‘Wizard of Oz,’ and we met Judy Garland and the Tin Man, Jack Haley. It was very nice.”
And the game?
“I got knocked out of the game fairly early while I was throwing a block,” Bellin said. “Beyond that, I don’t recall the details, but we played a good game and it was a great experience.”
Since then, UCLA has won all seven meetings with Wisconsin, including four in a row from 1979 through 1982 by a combined margin of 154-51.
Wisconsin Coach Barry Alvarez said the Badgers’ one loss, 28-21, to a lightly regarded Minnesota team, was a learning experience.
“I thought (the Badger players) showed their true character with the way they bounced back,” Alvarez said. “I think a lot of people started jumping off our bandwagon at that point, but the players bounced right back and beat Michigan.”
Members of Wisconsin’s secondary have been duly warned about the speed of J.J. Stokes, UCLA’s All-American wide receiver, but senior safety Reggie Holt isn’t awed.
“We hope to do something that will slow him down,” Holt said. “We don’t know how much he’s been subjected to bump-and-run. We’ll try it on him and see what happens.”
Holt said the Badgers had played against fleet receivers in Derrick Alexander of Michigan and Joey Galloway of Ohio State, “so facing Stokes won’t be anything new.”
However, Galloway burned the Wisconsin secondary on the Buckeyes’ tying drive, and Alvarez noted that Stokes is faster than either Alexander or Galloway.