The University of Wisconsin Football Team (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) look to unseat the Big Ten West leader Northwestern Wildcats (4-3, 4-1 Big Ten) Saturday morning.
News broke Thursday afternoon that Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook was questionable for this weekend’s tilt with a concussion, and that the Badgers were looking to quarterback Jack Coan as the replacement if needed.
This is out of nowhere – Coan would still be eligible for redshirt https://t.co/vIFMfskXI9
— Badger Herald Sports (@BHeraldSports) October 25, 2018
Hornibrook is coming off a string of inconsistent games, and many have been calling for Coan to replace him.
The possibility that Hornibrook will be sidelined presents an interesting chance for Coan to prove himself or be exposed as ill-prepared for the limelight.
Coan saw limited playtime for the Badgers last year, but has yet to see action this year and is likely to be redshirted.
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Last season Coan played in six games, going 5-5 for 36 yards.
Northwestern sits atop the Big Ten West Standings, taking the place that has been well-reserved for the Badgers over the last few years, and the wrinkle of an untested Coan starting for the Badgers could make this an unexpectedly tough game.
Despite the Wildcats’ place in the standings, they have lost to both Duke and Akron — arguably worse losses than Wisconsin’s to BYU.
Where the Badgers are seemingly uncertain, Northwestern is decidedly strong in the quarterback position.
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Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson has been dynamite in seven games for the Wildcats. He’s averaging 272.14 yards per game, with nine touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 61.11 completion percentage.
Thorson’s acumen should provide a great test for the Badger secondary, who played their best game of the season last week despite facing a litany of injuries.
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor claimed a casual 159 yards last week against Illinois, but failed to find the end zone even as the Badgers notched four total touchdowns.
Against a Northwestern team who has had issues with consistency in their run defense, allowing a low of 90 yards against Akron earlier in the season but succumbing to a rough 231-yard attack versus Nebraska.
As is the rule with every team the Badgers have faced this year, past statistics only go so far with in telling how they will handle Taylor, who is a generational talent and the leading rusher in the NCAA.