Welcome back to the countdown of the biggest stories in the year that was 2012 for the Wisconsin Badgers. When we last were here it was for our No. 7 story, the one about a QB with a bionic like knee becoming the starter down the stretch and leading the Badgers to a Big Ten title.
Today, it's a story that was about as bizarre as they come and one that rocked Badger Nation to it's core just before the opening of fall football camp.
What story are we talking about? Well, of course it's the 5 on 1 attack that Montee Ball suffered in late July. It's safe to say it capped off one of the strangest offseasons in recent memory for a star player at Wisconsin. I mean it started with an arrest for standing on a porch during the Mifflin Street block party and ended with him badly bruised and battered at the hands of some thugs.
What Happened: July 31st is a night that most Badger fans won't soon forget as news broke very late of an attack on Montee Ball as he was walking home from a night hanging out with friends on State Street. Nearly home Ball was attacked by 5 men and was beaten in the head and chest. It caused bruising and a severe concussion. It's safe to say no one saw this coming as Ball isn't exactly the type to get himself into a fight or into situations like this too often.
However, in the following days it appeared this wasn't just a random attack as the 5 men were reportedly in some sort of altercation with a few football players the week before. Ball wasn't involved in the fight but it was retribution apparently.
As a result of his concussion Ball was held out of camp entirely for the opening weeks and saw little contact. Montee had a very slow start to his 2012 season and it got some wondering if the public wasn't let on to just how bad that injury was, but in the end it most likely had a lot more to do with an offensive line that wasn't clicking with new coach Mike Markuson in the worst possible way.
Why it's on the List: Anytime your Heisman trophy finalist running back is attacked and nearly knocked out of action for a significant amount of time it's a big deal. Add in the fact that it was so out of the blue and unprovoked from Ball and it was one of those moments where the collective breaths of Badger nation were being held. It's safe to say it was the ugly cap on a bizarre offseason for Ball as well. Luckily he rebounded to have an 1,800 yard season and break the all-time career TD mark. Lessons learned and growth gained for Ball to say the least.