HOMEBioFilm rights, Screenplays, RepresentationOn the Colorado Scene 2019HORNS, HOGS, AND NIXON COMINGHorns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming: PrologueHorns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming Excerpt: July 1969 ... and beyondTHIRD DOWN AND A WAR TO GOThird Down and a War to Go: Screenplay opening pagesThird Down and a War to Go: Exerpt, Ohio State vs. WisconsinGrateful for the Guard: The Veterans Day story that led to Third Down and a War to GoOLYMPIC AFFAIR: HITLER'S SIREN AND AMERICA'S HEROOlympic Affair, Chapter 1: Leni's VisitOlympic Affair Excerpt: Aren't You Thomas Wolfe?'77: DENVER, THE BRONCOS, AND A COMING OF AGE'77 Excerpt: Red Miller'77 excerpt: Randy Gradishar'77 excerpt: Broncos at Raiders'77 excerpt: AFC Title GameTHE WITCH'S SEASONThe Witch's Season excerptPLAYING PIANO IN A BROTHELPlaying Piano excerpt: S.F. EarthquakePlaying Piano excerpt: Avalanche vs. Red Wings, March 26, 1997March 1939: Before the MadnessMarch 1939 Excerpt: IntroductionMarch 1939 Excerpt: How the First NCAA Tournament Came AboutCompilation of book blurbs/reviewsOn the Colorado Scene 2018On the Colorado Scene 2017Guest CommentariesA Selection of Terry Frei's writing about World War II heroesFrench Legion of Honor MedalDenverGreeleyJoAnn B. Ficke Cancer Foundation: Day of Giving, Sept. 11Bob Bell's Food For Thought

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Third Down and a War to Go is a 2007 paperback 


Third Down and a War to Go: The All-American
1942 Wisconsin Badgers 
is a 2004 hardback 





From the book jacket/cover:


When longtime University of Oregon coach Jerry Frei died in 2001, many of his former Ducks players attending his memorial services were astounded to learn that he had been a decorated P-38 fighter pilot in World War II. He never brought that up with his players. But like so many other veterans, he hadn’t talked much about the war with his children, either.


Late in Jerry Frei’s life, his son belatedly began asking more questions about the young pilot’s experiences. As they talked, a frame of reference was the Wisconsin Badgers’ 1942 team picture on Jerry Frei’s den wall. Sophomore backup guard Jerry Frei, then only 18, was in the fourth row of that 1942 photo, behind All-American end Dave Schreiner and star halfback Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch. The elder Frei spoke of how the players on one of the greatest college football teams of all time went off to serve their country after their glorious season – and about how not all of them made it back. 

After his father’s death, Terry Frei set out to learn more about the team and the men in that picture. What he learned left him forever changed.

On December 11, 1941, Schreiner wrote to his parents, “I’m not going to sit here snug as a bug, playing football, when others are giving their lives for their country. . . . If everyone tried to stay out of it, what a fine country we’d have!” Schreiner didn’t stay out of it. Neither did his teammates.


In the final-fling atmosphere common on college campuses as the first year of U.S. involvement in the war was winding down, the Badgers climbed up the national rankings under the guidance of coach Harry Stuhldreher, the quarterback of Notre Dame’s famed “Four Horsemen.” Stars and scrubs alike had enlisted in various branches, were awaiting their callups, and knew that each game brought them closer to military service. 

Schreiner and the Badgers’ other co-captain, halfback Mark Hoskins, both came from tiny Lancaster, Wisconsin, and the long-time buddies and teammates both planned to become pilots. But Schreiner’s color blindness ruled him out as a pilot, and after he renounced a pre-medicine student deferment, the two-time All-American end became a Marine officer. 

As the war raged on, the Badgers sailed through Harm’s Way, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, pushed the envelope as pilots, and led units in the fierce Pacific island battles.

Through exhaustive research and interviews with the remaining Badgers, their families, and combat comrades, Terry Frei tells the story of this band of brothers. In particular, the climactic material about the "Great Escape" prison camp, plus the Battle of Okinawa and the role of several Badgers in it, has tugged at readers’ hearts.

Readers and reviewers agree: This isn't about one team. It's an All-American story. 




Ordering Links


Wisconsin Historical Press: 




Hardcover (rare/collectable)




Barnes and Noble:




Screenplay's opening pages 


Grateful for the Guard: The story that started it all 






"Terry Frei has captured the spirit of a different time in this country, a time of faith in school and in country, a time of intense loyalty to teammate and fellow soldier. Third Down and a War to Go tells the story of one University of Wisconsin football team during World War II. But to limit the tale to that is like saying Angela's Ashes is about Ireland. This book brings to life, in shades of black and blue and blood red, the idea that certain things are worth fighting for."

--Rick Morrissey, Chicago Tribune 


"Mythology is nice. Truth is better. The '42 Badgers were boys being boys. Good for them. Good for Terry Frei, who chose to write their story truly in his book, Third Down and a War to Go: The All-American 1942 Wisconsin Badgers.What a powerful piece of work the book is, a telling detail in the great portrait of America at war, young men and women who saw their duty and did it no matter how much it scared them."

-- Dave Kindred, The Sporting News and author of Sound and Fury 

 “Many times you hear athletes called heroes, their deeds and accomplishments on the field or court are characterized as courageous. After reading Third Down and a War to Go, I am embarrassed to have ever been thought of as brave or courageous. Enjoy this adventure in history, life, and in courage and take it from a so-called ‘tough guy’...keep the hanky close by.”

--Dan Fouts, Hall of Fame quarterback and sportscaster 

"...a book that not only makes you keep reading, but makes you care...The last chapter in Frei's book, 'Lives and Deaths,' details what happened to everyone from that squad, and by the time you get there, you really want to know about them. It's that kind of book, relatively modest in intent but rich in fabric and execution."
--Dwight Chapin, San Francisco Chronicle

"Here’s a book written with love and passion . . . What began as a sports book comes to resemble something akin to 'Band of Brothers,' by the late Stephen Ambrose (who played for the Badgers more than a decade later). . . This is an inspiring book, full of fun and pathos and heroism."
--Dave Wood, past vice-president of the National Book Critics Circle and former book review editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"Of all the traits of the World War II generation, perhaps the most impressive some 60 years later is the ability to make do, no matter the circumstances, and with little ceremony at that. That theme echoes throughout author Terry Frei's thoroughly researched and ardently objective book, a chronicle of the 1942 Badgers' rapid transition from carefree college clashes against Notre Dame and Minnesota to battling Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. . . The first half of the book establishes the principal characters and the 'swell' atmosphere of the day, to borrow some period terminology, while detailing an 8-1-1 season in which the Badgers were deemed mythical national champions by the Helms Foundation. With the war heightening, the majority of the players were sent overseas to fight on the front lines, and Frei follows them relentlessly in the book's second half, focusing mainly on (Dave) Schreiner and (Mark) Hoskins. It's a logical choice, given their long friendship, their disparate assignments and Schreiner's status as an All-American . . . Either half of the book would have stood alone, but together they do supreme justice to a group all too soon gone, all too easily forgotten."
-- Adam Mertz, The Capital Times, Madison   


"With its members serving on all fronts, the 1942 Wisconsin Badgers become a microcosm of the American war effort, representatives of a remarkable generation of self-sacrificing Americans. . . . Through Hoskins and Schreiner, the cocaptains of the 1942 team, the author makes his most important point. Frei portrays the young men who played football at the University of Wisconsin in 1942 and later fought for their country as truly 'All-American' boys. Having embraced the opportunity to serve his country and risk the ultimate sacrifice, Dave Schreiner -- as both a star athlete and all-American on the football field as well as a man of impeccable character off it -- was the definitive symbol of this. Written with the passion of an inspired student, Third Down and a War to Go is fulfilling and powerful. It adds athletic perspective to our understanding of the 'Greatest Generation' as well as a window into their rural, midwestern lives and their roots as athletes, students, and friends." -- Shane Butterfield, Michigan Historical Review








“Tirelessly researched and relentlessly touching. The true allegory of football and war, minus the cliches.”

--Jay Greenberg, New York Post


"Terry Frei set out to learn more about his father. He wound up bringing to life a team, a cause and an era. Likewise, all that the young men of the 1942 Wisconsin Badgers set out to be was college students and football players. But circumstances called most of them to do something greater: Save the world. Impressively researched and reported and powerfully written, Third Down and a War To Go will put you in the huddle, in the front lines and in a state of profound gratitude -- not only to the Badgers and the hundreds of thousands of men like them, but to Terry Frei.”

--Neal Rubin, Detroit News and author of Gil Thorp 
"...during World War II, as this book movingly reminds us, there was little separation between war and football. Most of the young men who played at Camp Randall during the fall of 1942 were headed for the service within a year, graduating seniors and underclassmen alike. All season long they knew what was coming, as did their coach, Harry Stuhldreher, one of the famed Four Horsemen of Notre Dame.
  "Soon enough his players were in the Marines, Navy, and Army and fighting in all theaters of the world war. All of them were doing only what they were expected to do, what they believed they had to do, not thinking of themselves as especially brave and certainly not heroic. Yet it is impossible to read this book and not be awed by their actions. 
  "At the center of the story are the Touchdown Twins, Dave Schreiner and Mark (Had) Hoskins, unforgettable middle-American archetypes. They were childhood pals from Lancaster, a small town of 2,600 in southwestern Wisconsin, who lived out the dream of playing and starring together on the topflight Big Ten team up in Madison, culminating with the 1942 season. The interwoven stories of Had and Dave evoke hope and heartbreak.
  "Hoskins was among a squadron of Wisconsin players who became pilots (including Terry Frei’s dad, Jerry Frei, a backup guard). It was while flying a B-17 mission in Europe three weeks after D-Day in June 1944 that Had was shot down in Hungary near the German border.
  "Schreiner joined the Marines and ended up leading a company into battle on Okinawa along with his Wisconsin teammate Bob Baumann. Among the many striking moments in Frei’s narrative, I will never forget the scene of Schreiner sprinting out of a trap staged on the island by the Japanese and looking down at a corpse as he sped to safety. 'That looked like Bob,' he said, his eyes misting as he kept running. The account of Schreiner’s own final hours and how he died represents Frei’s deepest reporting and brought me to tears. It is impossible not to love Dave Schreiner, who was the best of the 1942 Badgers, better than the more famous Crazylegs, but more than that the best of humanity. His death was front page news in the Wisconsin newspapers that June of 1945, and it hurts still sixty-one years later. 
   "I’ve already mapped out one of the first trips I intend to make when I get back to Wisconsin. I’m going to drive the highways winding through the beautiful rolling hills southwest of Madison to pay my respects to Had Hoskins and Dave Schreiner, the Touchdown Twins, who are buried at Lancaster’s Hillside Cemetery, side by side." 
-- From the foreword by David Maraniss

"David Nathan Schreiner was far more distinguished off the field, a reality brought to life in the must-read book Third Down and a War to Go, by Terry Frei"
 -- Andy Baggot, Wisconsin State Journal 
"Great job. So good that I was brought to tears. So good that I almost need to visit the cemetery in Lancaster, Wis., and say 'thanks' to Dave Schreiner and Mark Hoskins." --Randy Jesick, journalism professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

"The drama, heroism and pathos of this book would make a great movie that would star two Grant County men -- Lancaster's Dave Schreiner and Mark Hoskins."

--Jon Angeli, Grant County Herald-Independent
 "While Schreiner's is among the most compelling, the stories of these young men and their efforts and the battlefield recall a different era. . . These Badgers did their job as teammates on the gridiron, and they headed off together to fight the Germans and Japanese, united in their purpose and with a grateful nation behind them."
--Scott Angus, editor, Janesville Gazette, son of team manager Robert Angus






The 1942 Badgers on the first day of fall practice



With Pat Harder blocking, Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch skirts the end against Ohio State




From that team picture: Tackle Bob Baumann (74) and end Dave Schreiner (80), who would end up serving on Okinawa together. They're with Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch.  



After the big victory over Ohio State, coach Harry Stuhldreher, at center, is joined by Mark Hoskins, Dave Schreiner, Pat Harder and Elroy "Crazylegs" Hrsch.





The Badgers' 1942 co-captains, Dave Schreiner and

Mark Hoskins, as childhood buddies in Lancaster,

Wisconsin. If they look guilty here, they probably

had just come from convincing someone else to

whitewash a fence for them. A few years later in





Lancaster Boys Dave Schreiner and Mark Hoskins at 42 captains. It took Uncle Sam to separate them. Hoskins was a B-17 co-pilot in Europe, Schreiner a Marine in the Pacific.



Dave Schreiner with his family and fiance Odette Hendrickson. 


Arlene Bahr visits the firemen at the firehouse where her boyfriend, Bb Baumann, had stayed. She sent thtis picture to Baumann, a Marine in the Pacifc.   


The "Crazylegs" game.  

He went to Chicago for a game against the Great Lakes Naval Station as Elroy. He went back to Madison as "Crazylegs."


Dave Schreiner with the Chicago Tribune's Silver Football as Bog Ten MVP. Harry Stuhldreher watches.  

Dave Schreiner, USMC 


Marines Dave Schreiner and Bob Baumann fooling around in the Pacific. Baumann sent this picture to Arlene Bahr.   

Dave Schreiner and Illinois/Purdue's Tony Butkovich on Guadalcanal, before the 4th Marines met the 29th Marines in a touch football game on Christmas Eve, 1944. 


Pilot Mark Hoskins, the other Lancaster Boy   

P-38 pilot Jerry Frei 


Jerry Frei in a P-38 

Jerry Frei and his damaged plane. Someone else had taken it on a mission.  



Third Down and a War to Go kickoff party: Fred Negus, Terry Frei, Otto Breitenbach, Bob Rennebohm  

Eau Claire, Wis., Borders: '42 Badgers Don Litchfield (pilot), Dave Donnellan (Bronze Star, Battle of the Bulge) and John Gallagher (Marine) with Terry Frei. 



'42 Badgers Dick Thornally, Erv Kissling, John Roberts at Legacy Game 


Terry Frei carries the decade sign as some of the '42 Badgers participate in the Legacy game ceremony.