2003 Wisconsin Badgers football team

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2003 Wisconsin Badgers football
University of Wisconsin Waving W.svg
Music City Bowl, L 14–28 vs. Auburn
Conference Big Ten Conference
2003 record 7–6 (4–4 Big Ten)
Head coach Barry Alvarez (14th year)
Offensive coordinator Brian White
Defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove
MVP Lee Evans
Captain Lee Evans
Captain Jim Leonhard
Captain Jeff Mack
Captain Jim Sorgi
Home stadium Camp Randall Stadium
(Capacity: 76,634)
« 2002 2004 »
2003 Big Ten football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#6/7 Michigan   7 1         10 3  
#4/4 Ohio State   6 2         11 2  
#18/19 Purdue   6 2         9 4  
#8/8 Iowa   5 3         10 3  
#20/17 Minnesota   5 3         10 3  
Michigan State   5 3         8 5  
Wisconsin   4 4         7 6  
Northwestern   4 4         6 7  
Penn State   0* 7         0* 9  
Indiana   1 7         2 10  
Illinois   0 8         1 11  
† – BCS representative as champion
‡ – BCS at-large representative

The 2003 Wisconsin Badgers football team represented the University of Wisconsin–Madison during the 2003 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Led by Barry Alvarez, the Badgers completed the season with a 7–6 record, including a 4–4 mark in the Big Ten Conference, finishing in a tie for 7th in the Big Ten.


Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
August 30 11:00 AM at West Virginia* #21 Mountaineer FieldMorgantown, WV ESPN W 24–17   60,663[1]
September 6 2:30 PM Akron* #18 Camp Randall StadiumMadison, WI ESPN W 48–31   75,401[1]
September 13 11:00 AM UNLV* #14 Camp Randall Stadium • Madison, WI ESPN2 L 5–23   78,043[1]
September 20 11:00 AM North Carolina* Camp Randall Stadium • Madison, WI ESPN W 38–27   77,439[1]
September 27 5:00 PM at Illinois Memorial StadiumChampaign, IL ESPN2 W 38–20   58,495[1]
October 4 11:00 AM at Penn State Beaver StadiumUniversity Park, PA ESPN W 30–23   107,851[1]
October 11 8:00 PM #3 Ohio State #23 Camp Randall Stadium • Madison, WI ESPN W 17–10   79,793[1]
October 18 11:00 AM #13 Purduedagger #14 Camp Randall Stadium • Madison, WI ESPN L 23–26   79,541[1]
October 25 11:00 AM at Northwestern #20 Ryan FieldEvanston, IL ESPN2 L 7–16   36,233[1]
November 8 11:00 AM at #24 Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey MetrodomeMinneapolis, MN (Paul Bunyan's Axe) ESPN L 34–37   59,543[1]
November 15 11:00 AM #21 Michigan State Camp Randall Stadium • Madison, WI ESPN2 W 56–21   79,256[1]
November 22 2:30 PM #17 Iowa Camp Randall Stadium • Madison, WI ABC L 21–27   79,931[1]
December 31 11:00 AM vs. Auburn* The ColiseumNashville, TN (Music City Bowl) ESPN L 14–28   55,109[1]
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll. All times are in Central Time.

Season summary[edit]

Wisconsin entered the 2003 season ranked, after an 8–6 campaign the year before. The Badgers defeated West Virginia and Akron to open the season, but then were shocked by perennially underachieving UNLV at home, 23–5. The stunning upset knocked the Badgers (then ranked 14th) out of the polls entirely, and they would not return until after wins in their first two Big Ten games, against Illinois and Penn State (teams that would combine for a 1–15 Big Ten record). With defending National Champion Ohio State coming to town on a 19-game winning streak, the Badgers put together a solid game, and ended the Buckeyes' winning streak in a 17–10 upset.

At 3–0 in the Big Ten and having defeated Ohio State, the Badgers were looking to put together a run at a Big Ten title. Unfortunately for the Badgers, Kyle Orton and the Purdue Boilermakers ended Wisconsin's undefeated Big Ten campaign with a 26–23 win in Camp Randall. The next week in Evanston, the 20th ranked Badgers lost 16–7 to Northwestern.

With Paul Bunyan's Axe on the line against Minnesota, the Badgers were unable to avoid giving up another late drive, and Minnesota beat the Badgers in Minneapolis for the 2nd time in a row, 37–34. Disheartened but not yet finished, the Badgers dealt a massive blow to Michigan State (which was riding a losing streak of its own) as they routed the Spartans, 56–21. It was their second straight win over MSU. WR Lee Evans caught 10 passes for 258 yards and 5 touchdowns[2] in the game.

Against Iowa the next week, the Badgers took a 21–7 lead, which they proved unable to hold. Iowa defeated Wisconsin 27–21, a devastating loss on Senior Day that left the Badgers tied for 7th in the Big Ten. The Badgers accepted an invitation to the 2003 Music City Bowl against Auburn, a team ranked 6th in the nation in the preseason. The Badgers lost 28–14, closing out their 3rd season in a row with 6 or more losses.

FS Jim Leonhard caught 7 interceptions on defense for Wisconsin, leading the Badgers and the Big Ten. However, Wisconsin's defense gave up late scoring drives against Purdue, Minnesota, and Iowa, all games the Badgers lost.

Michigan State[edit]

#21/#22 Michigan St at Wisconsin
1 2 3 4 Total
Michigan St 0 7 7 7 21
Wisconsin 14 14 21 7 56

Lee Evans tied the Big Ten record for touchdowns receptions in a single game while breaking the school records for single-game receiving yardage and career receiving touchdowns.

Regular starters[edit]

Team players selected in the 2004 NFL Draft[edit]

Player Position Round Overall Selection NFL Team
Lee Evans Wide Receiver 1 13 Buffalo Bills
Alex Lewis Linebacker 5 140 Detroit Lions
Jim Sorgi Quarterback 6 193 Indianapolis Colts