Bernstein, Matt : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Bernstein, Matt

Bernstein, at 6'2", 273 pounds, is considered one of the best fullbacks in the Big Ten, playing for the University of Wisconsin. Wisconsin finished the 2004 season with a record of 9-3 (6-2 in conference) and ranked No. 17 in the country. On the season, Bernstein carried the ball 82 times for 298 yards (third on the team) with one touchdown and had nine receptions for 68 yards. The Badgers played in the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day against No. 7 Georgia and lost a close game, 24-21 - Bernstein had one carry for two yards in the game.

On September 25, Bernstein helped the Badgers defeated Penn State in the Big Ten opener, 16-3. Although the game began on Yom Kippur, Bernstein fasted on the day, did not warm up before the game, and took an IV prior to the kickoff. On that day, with Wisconsin running out of halfbacks, Bernstein carried the load in the second half, finishing the game with career-highs in carries (27) and yards (123) and receiving ovation after ovation from the appreciate home crowd.

The decision to play was difficult for Bernstein, but because the game started just before the end of Yom Kippur, he decided to go ahead. In an article from, Bernstein explained, "Me and my dad were discussing it, hoping it was a night game. If it was at 11, I couldn't play." Because the game, which started in the evening, but before sundown, Bernstein discussed it with coach Barry Alvarez and offensive coordinator Brian White, his position coach. "They told me, 'Do whatever you've got to do. I told Coach White that I wouldn't warm up (before the game). It was real easy. Everybody was real understanding." Along with his parents, Bernstein attended a services at the Hillel on campus Saturday morning and then played that night.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. December 26, 1982

Career Highlights:
A four-year starter at Edgemont High School in Scarsdale (New York), Bernstein was a two-time state player of the year (class C). An outstanding two-way player, he scored 504 points in his career, third most in New York State history, and ran for a combined 3,887 yards as a junior and senior.

In 2001, Bernstein enrolled at Wisconsin, one of the top programs in the country, and was redshirted. He stepped into the starting line-up in 2002 and played well for the Badgers. During the regular season, Bernstein had 19 carries for 66 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 24 yards.

The Badgers ended the 2002 regular season with a record of 7-6 (2-6 in conference) after a 49-31 victory over Minnesota. On December 28, the Badgers defeated No. 14 Colorado in the Alamo Bowl, 31-28 (in overtime). Bernstein had one reception for nine yards in the game. He was named Academic All-Big Ten at the end of 2002. The Badgers finished the 2003 regular season with a record of 7-5 (3-4). Earlier in the year, the Badgers defeated the defending National Champions, then-No. 3 Ohio State, 17-10 (ending the Buckeyes' 19-game winning streak). Bernstein finished the season with 28 carries for 118 yards (4.2 average) and seven receptions for 71 yards. In the Music City Bowl, the Badgers lost to Auburn, 28-14; Bernstein rushed once for two yards and caught one pass for eight yards in the game.

Scarsdale, New York

Career Dates:
Bernstein plays fullback at the University of Wisconsin, 2002-present.

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