The University of Wisconsin is one of the most historic programs in Big Ten history. The Wisconsin Badgers have had multiple Heisman Trophy winners, consensus All-Americans, and postseason award winners.
Ron Dayne, Alan Ameche and Joe Thomas are remembered as all-time greats. Montee Ball and Russell Wilson just turned in historic seasons as well.
Here's a look at the best offensive seasons in Wisconsin Badger history.
Joe Thomas's 2006 campaign is the greatest ever turned in by a Wisconsin Badger offensive lineman. Thomas dominated for the Badgers, blocking for a 1,500-yard rusher in P.J. Hill and a 2,000-yard passer in John Stocco. The 2006 Badgers finished the season 12-1, a school record.
After the season, Thomas was a consensus All-American and a member of the First Team for the Associated Press. Thomas won the Outland Trophy for college football's best interior lineman and was a finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy and the Draddy Trophy and a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award.
Thomas went on to be the third overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft.
Scott Tolzien's 2010 campaign is the second best by a quarterback in Wisconsin Badger history. Tolzien threw for 2,459 yards on 266 attempts, completing 194 for a 72.9 completion percentage. Tolzien's completion percentage led the nation. He averaged 9.2 yards per attempt and finished the season with a 165.9 passer efficiency rating.
The Badgers finished the season 11-2 and No. 7 in the postseason polls after Tolzien led the Badgers to their first Rose Bowl in 10 years. Following the season, Tolzien won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given to the nation’s top senior quarterback.
Lee Evans' 2001 season is the greatest by a wide receiver in Wisconsin football history. Evans caught 75 balls for 1545 yards and nine touchdowns and averaged over 20 yards per reception. His 2001 campaign set multiple records, as his 75 receptions and 1545 yards are both Wisconsin records in their respective categories.
Following his record-breaking season, Lee Evans was First-Team All-Big Ten, as well as a finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award.
Ron Dayne started his career as a Wisconsin Badger off with a bang, running for 2,109 yards on 325 carries. He averaged 6.5 yards per rush and he scored 21 touchdowns. He set records for rush yards in a season, carries in a game and most touchdowns in a season (which has since been broken).
He also set the national record for freshman rushing yards in a season. He broke the Big-Ten rushing record and finished fourth in the country.
Following the season, Dayne was a Third-Team A.P. All-American, a First-Team Freshman All-American; First-Team All-Big Ten and the Big Ten co-Freshman of the Year.
Brian Calhoun's only season with the Badgers proved to be a dominant one. Calhoun rushed for 1636 yards on 348 attempts for 22 touchdowns for a 4.7 yards per rush average. Calhoun also added 571 yards receiving on 53 receptions with two touchdowns.
Calhoun set Wisconsin records for attempts in a season, as well as rushing touchdowns in a season (since broken by Montee Ball). He was the second player in Big Ten history to rush for 1000 yards and have 500 receiving yards, and he was the second person nationally with 1500 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving. He led the Big Ten in points, touchdowns, attempts, yards, rushing touchdowns and yards from scrimmage.
Following his dominant season, Calhoun was named First-Team All-Big Ten, Second-Team All-American and a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award.
Russell Wilson's 2011 season with the Badgers is the best season by a quarterback in Badger history. Wilson passed for 3,175 yards on 225 completions with a completion percentage of 72.8. Wilson threw 33 touchdowns and only four interceptions, resulting in a 191.8 passer efficiency rating, which led the nation.
He led the Big Ten in passing touchdowns, yards per attempt and passer efficiency rating, and he finished second in yards and completion percentage. Wilson set Wisconsin records for yards in a season, completions in a season, passing touchdowns in a season and highest passer efficiency rating in a season.
Following his stellar 2011 season, Wilson finished ninth in the Heisman voting, was the Big Ten Quarterback of the Year and was unanimously named to the First Team All-Big Ten. Russell was also a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.
Statistically, Alan Ameche's 1954 season was the worst of his career with the Badgers. He only rushed for 641 yards on 146 carries, along with nine touchdowns.
However, the list of Ameche's accolades after the season are incredible. He won the Heisman Trophy handily—the first Wisconsin Badger to do so—and was named the Big Ten MVP. He was a consensus All-American and he won the first ever Walter Camp Memorial Trophy. He was also named the MVP of the Senior Bowl.
Statistically, Montee Ball's 2011 campaign is the greatest in Badger football history. Ball rushed for 1,923 yards on 307 carries for an average of 6.3 per attempt. Ball scored 33 rushing touchdowns, a Wisconsin record for most in a season.
Ball also caught 24 passes for 306 yards and six touchdowns. His 39 total touchdowns tied for the most scored in a single season in NCAA history.
Following his impressive 2011 season, Ball was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, finishing fourth overall while also being a finalist for the Doak Walker Award. Ball was named the Big Ten Player of the Year, as well as the Big Ten Running Back of the Year, and he was also an All-American.
Ron Dayne's 1999 season is the greatest offensive season in Wisconsin Badger history. Dayne rushed for 2,034 yards on 337 carries. He averaged 6.0 yards per carry and he scored 20 touchdowns.
After the 1999 season, Dayne was Big Ten Player of the Year, Associated Press National Player of the Year and a First-Team All-American. Following the 1999 season, he also won the Maxwell Award, the Walter Camp Award and the Doak Walker Award.
More importantly, Ron Dayne won the Heisman Trophy following the 1999 season. Dayne dominated the voting, winning by over a thousand votes. His Heisman trophy was the second in Wisconsin history, and the first since 1954.
Ron Dayne's Heisman Trophy was the cap on the greatest offensive season in Badger history.