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1968 Flashback: Arizona State football seeking to remain perfect at home against Wisconsin

If this weekend goes according to plan, ASU hopes to walk away with a 2-0 record this season and jump Wisconsin in the polls.

The Sun Devils ran all over the Badgers in their last visit to Tempe.
The Sun Devils ran all over the Badgers in their last visit to Tempe.
ASU Athletics

Believe it or not, 2010 represents the first year Wisconsin beat Arizona State in football as the Badgers took advantage of playing in Camp Randall Stadium. But even that game, when Bucky was heavily favored, turned out to be closer than most people thought.

Before the 2000s, the last time these two teams squared off was in 1968 in Tempe and would you believe me if I said there was a time in history when Wisconsin football was actually bad? The Badgers finished the year 0-10 and got whooped in the desert 55-7 to open their season.

Arizona State had winning season for two straight decades (1953-1976), thanks in large part to former head coach Frank Kush, and they finished that year 8-2. That win was Kush's 101st game (74-26-1) and also the start of his 11th season.

A few names on that team people should know are three-time All-American linebacker Ron Pritchard, running back Art Malone, and coach Bill Kajikawa (Oh no big deal, he just has the ASU practice facility named after him).

Malone is eighth on ASU's all-time rushing leader board after racking up 2,649 yards over his career. To put that number in perspective, former running back Cameron Marshall is seventh on that list with 2,700 yards, but he did have 15 more hand-off attempts than Malone. 1968 was also the year ASU's featured back rushed for over 1,400 yards.

That game was so important for Arizona State because it was the first time ever that a Big Ten school visited Tempe. The season opener brought in a record crowd (at the time) of 43,317 fans.

Switching gears to this weekend, the Sun Devils will be badgering the the Badgers on Frank Kush field for a chance to crack the Top 25 polls. The two programs and even the game of football has changed over the last 45 years. Arizona State comes in with a more balanced team with its up-tempo offense, while Wisconsin is an in-your-face downhill running team.

There is no denying the two team's defenses are arguably among the best in their respective conferences, but if 1968 was any indication, this game is destined to be an offensive showcase.