(NOTE: This site is best viewed with a browser other than Internet Explorer, which tends to play with this server's fonts.)


Trade Paperback, 2007

Third Down and a War to Go
was a 2007 trade paperback. David
Maraniss of the Washington Post
wrote the foreword.

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. 


(click to read opening pages) tugs at heartstrings, but has upbeat ending at Camp Randall Stadium in 2006. The screen rights are available again. Interested parties pleaze contact Jeanne Field, Windfall Management, Los Angeles, windfall1@roadrunner.com  










Ordering Links


Wisconsin Historical Press: 




Tattered Cover: 









Barnes and Noble:





Excerpt: Monumental 1942 Ohio State-Wisconsin game


The Death of Dave Schreiner and Other World War II stories 


Grateful for the Guard: The story that started it all 



"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 ABC-TV 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


"David Nathan Schreiner was far more distinguished off the field, a reality brought to life in the must-read bookThird Down and a War to Go by Terry Frei."

-- Andy Baggot, Wisconsin State Journal



Hardcover, 2004

Third Down and a War to Go:

The All-American 1942 Wisconsin

Badgers was a 2004 hardback 


"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


“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

"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

"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
"This is a story of the highest degree, one that will leave the reader at various times laughing, mournful, amazed, and inspired. Third Down And A War To Go is much more than just a football story. It is much more than just a war story. It is a story about us."
--Doug Warren, Badgernation.com





Sophomore Elroy "Crazylegs" Hirsch follows the blocking of junior Pat Harder against Ohio State. Before the season, which would turn out to be Hirsch's only one at Wisconsin, famous Madison columnist "Roundy" Coughlin advised that every Badger fan should "buy a ticket and hold onto your seat. We haven't had a runner like that since you used to wear stiff hats and button shoes going to class."


 On the first day of '42 fall practice: sophomore halfback Elroy Hirsch (40), senior tackle Bob Baumann (74), senior end Dave Schreiner (80).


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


 The "Crazylegs" game came against Great Lakes, with 1941 Hesiman Trophy winner Bruce Smith and former Detroit Lion Steve Belichick.






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

Madison, they were (right)...


                      Lancaster Boys as '42 captains: Dave Schreiner (80),

                      Mark Hoskins (11). After all those years, it took Uncle

                      Sam to separate them, with Hoskins becoming a B-17

                      co-pilot in Europe and Schreiner becoming a Marine

                      lieutenant in the horrific Pacific island fighting.



Dave Schreiner accepting the Chicago Tribune Silver Football at Big Ten MVP. 


                                   Lt. Schreiner, USMC



Thanksgiving 1943: Dave Schreiner and his fiancee,

Odette Hendrickson, at the Schreiner family home

in Lancaster. From the left: Schreiner's Aunt Emma,

sister Betty Johnson, mother Anne, and father Bert.

The baby with her back to the camera is Betty Johnson's

daugher and Dave's niece, Judy Johnson.


Bob Baumann's fiancee, Arlene Bahr, is wearing his letter

sweater as she visits the Madison firehouse where Baumann

and teammate George Makris -- destined to be Bill Cosby's

football coach at Temple -- lived during their college years.

It was one of the perks for Badger athletes: For free rent, they

closed the big doors after the fire engines departed. Jerry Frei

and Ken Currier lived in another firehouse.



Former Badger teammates Dave Schreiner

and Bob Baumann "square off" outside a Marine

hut in the Pacific. They were two of the four

lieutenants in "A" Company, 4th Regiment, 

Sixth Marine Division. On the back of the

original of this picture, which Baumann sent

to his fiancee, Arlene Bahr, he wrote: "Junior

(Schreiner) and I putting on a show." Their fighting

and their fates in the Battle of Okinawa are 

the climax of Third Down and A War to Go


The other Lancaster Boy and Badgers' co-captain, halfback Mark Hoskins, was a B-17 co-pilot shot down and feared missing in a 1944 mission against German targets in Hungary. Schreiner got the word in the Pacific, but Hoskins ended up captured on the ground and interned in Stalag Luft III, the "Great Escape Camp," and then -- after a treacherous forced march during which many weakened American prisoners collapsed and froze to death -- at the horrific Stalag V-II near Munich.

Terry Frei interviewed him extensively in San Diego, and Hoskins was tearful when talking about Schreiner and later gave a thumbs-up to the manuscript before his death. Another Badger, Don Pfotenhauer, was captured during the Battle of the Bulge when his unit was surrounded. “I thought of my loved ones at home,” Pfotenhauer wrote in diaries made available to Frei by his family. "How would they take it? Would they be ashamed of me? Would they be able to stand up to the shock when I would be reported MIA? When I thought of them, tears came to my eyes.” After a forced march, he and other American prisoners ended up in the odious Stalag IX-B and then Stalag IX-A. 



David Nathan Schreiner, 1921-45




 Sixty-three years after that family dinner in Lancaster, Judy Johnson Corfield, Dave's niece, is on the field with Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez at Camp Randall Stadium at halftime of the Wisconsin-Northwestern game in 2006. They're watching as the tarp is removed from the upper deck facade on the stadium's west side, revealing (at right)...









First Lt. Gerald "Jerry" Frei, United States Army Air

Forces, after getting his "wings." An 18-year-old

sophomore backup in the '42 season, he was 20 

when he flew the first of his 67 combat missions

in his P-38. He later would be the only man on

the planet who had won both the Air Medal

(three times) and Super Bowl championship

ring (twice).   



Jerry Frei in the P-38 cockpit. It could get awful small.



Jerry Frei with "his" plane, damaged after a mission. Pilots' names and their crews

were honored on individual P-38s, but that didn't mean they always flew those planes. 


Jerry Frei's mission partner took this photo of his plane on what was going to be his final mission. He had crossed the 300-hour threshold.




Part of Jerry Frei's media guide bio when he was Oregon's head coach. Notice anything

missing? He could have been off mowing lawns for four years. That's how they were.


Dave Donnellan, from Eau Claire, was a sophomore reserve in 1942. "I played a lot of football at Wisconsin," he told Terry Frei in Eau Claire. "Most of it was during the week." He earned the Bronze Star in the Battle of the Bulge. 



'42 Badgers at a Wisconsin "Legacy" Game: 'Badger Dick Thornally, left, was with

Dave Schreiner and Bob Baumann through Officers Candidates School at Quantico

before they were separated. Thornally ended up being trained in field

communications, stationed in the Marshall Islands. Erv Kissling, center, was

wounded in the Battle of Remagen. John Roberts, right, was a pilot instructor

who was preparing to be brought into combat for an invasion of Japan.







Terry Frei holds the '40s placard on the field at the Badgers' Legacy game.