Known as "The Great Dayne" and "The Dayne Train" throughout college, Ron Dayne was the starting running back all four years at Wisconsin. Not a flashy or boisterous player, Dayne was a workman-like back, expected to carry the ball as much as necessary. He had 1,220 carries during his career.
Over his four seasons, Dayne set the NCAA Division I-A rushing record for total yards in a career. He gained 1,863 yards as a freshman, 1,421 as a sophomore, 1,325 as a junior, and 1,834 as a senior. He finally broke the record in the final game of the 1999 season against Iowa. Dayne ended his career with 6,397 rushing yards (which does not include yardage from the four bowl games he played in), eclipsing the record set the previous year by Ricky Williams of Texas.
Dayne saved some of his best performances for the four bowl games to which he led Wisconsin. He rushed for 246 to lead the Badgers to a 38-10 victory in the 1996 Copper Bowl against Utah, garnering MVP honors. Dayne only gained 36 yards in the 1998 Outback Bowl loss against Georgia the next season, but bounced back the next two seasons with 246 yards and 200 yards, respectively, in the Badgers' 1999 and 2000 Rose Bowl wins. Dayne won MVP honors in both games, becoming only the third player in the history of the Rose Bowl to repeat as MVP - and the first and still only Big Ten player to do so. Bob Schloredt (Washington/Pac-10), Charles White (USC/Pac-10) were the first two, and Vince Young (Texas/Big 12) has subsequently accomplished this feat.
Dayne won the Heisman Trophy in 1999 as well as other awards throughout college, including Big Ten Player of the Year for 1999 and All-American placement in 1996, 1998 and 1999. His name and number is one of six displayed on the Camp Randall Stadium façade. Dayne's #33 was officially retired during the November 10, 2007, game against Michigan.
Dayne's career rushing total remains an NCAA record. When yardage from bowl games is included, he amassed 7,125 yards. He shares the record for most 200-yard rushing games with Ricky Williams and Marcus Allen, with twelve. He also holds the Big Ten Conference rushing and total touchdowns record, with 71, and is one of five players in NCAA history to rush for over a thousand yards in each of his four seasons.
Ron Dayne became Wisconsin's second Heisman Trophy winner after setting an NCAA rushing record. He finished first in all six sections and won by 1,048 points.
Ron was drafted 11th overall by the New York Giants in the 2000 NFL draft.