The University of Wisconsin football team’s leading tackler Jack Cichy won’t play the remainder of the season because of a torn left pectoral.
Cichy injured himself on the last drive of the second quarter during Wisconsin’s 17-9 win at Iowa Saturday. He chased Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard out of bounds, tangled himself with Beathard and slammed hard into a training bike on the sideline. He returned for the second half until it became apparent he was essentially playing with one arm.
“I loved the way he played and put it out there,” UW head coach Paul Chryst said. “We actually talked about that yesterday. He goes, ‘I’m glad I played the way I did. I didn’t cheat it at all.’ And he did. He put it all out there and you feel bad for him missing these opportunities to play.”
Fifth-year senior Dare Ogunbowale said it will be tough to replace Cichy and the entire team will miss him.
“It’s tough to see a guy like that, someone I’m real close with, get his season ended short,” Ogunbowale said. “This kind of whole mentality is facing adversity and we’ll see guys step up for sure.”
Cichy joins sophomore Chris Orr as two inside linebackers who won’t play again this season. Orr tore his ACL against LSU on the first defensive series of the season.
Cichy leads the Badgers with 60 tackles this season, which is 16 more stops than any other player. His 45 solo tackles ranked sixth in the country. He also had seven tackles for loss, which ranked second on the team.
Fifth-year senior safety Leo Musso said the toughest part about hearing Cichy say he was done for the year is the fact he came back after suffering the injury and said he’d be back for Saturday’s matchup against No. 7 Nebraska.
It speaks volumes about his toughness, Musso said.
“You see him running around out there trying to make [one-armed tackles],” Musso said. “That speaks volumes about who he is as a person and he’s truly a leader of this team.”
Redshirt sophomore Ryan Connelly filled in at inside linebacker after Orr went down and T.J. Edwards was on the mend from a foot injury. He is listed alongside junior Leon Jacobs for the starting job come Saturday.
Fifth-year senior outside linebacker Vince Biegel, a close friend of Cichy’s, said the game of football, and life in general, tends to throw you curveballs from time to time.
“He was our energy to our defense,” Biegel said. “We’re still gonna need him to be that person if we want to get to where we want to get at the end of the season.”