Senior Spotlight: Wisconsin Football’s Joel Stave


Badger of Honor in recent weeks and leading up to the start of the season against Alabama is putting a spotlight on all the Wisconsin Badgers seniors.

Read also: Wisconsin lands at No. 18 in USA preseason Coaches Poll

Joel Stave is just about done with his term as a Wisconsin quarterback. A native of Greenfield, Wis. and Whitnall High School, Stave was a redshirt in 2011 after joining the team early in the spring. In 2012, he became the first freshman since Jim Sorgi to start under center for the Badgers in over a decade.

As with most of these spotlights, we have focused on statistics and records, but we cannot count on that same formula with Joel Stave. We have to do something different.

We start with the fact that nobody needs to cry foul at the lack of great stats Wisconsin QBs have.

Simply dropping back and throwing the ball is never more important than job No. 1 of handing it off or pitching it out to the feature, spell or tandem backs. By this measure, Stave ranks among the best of the best in Madison’s history.

Next we have to be honest with ourselves that Bret Bielema or whomever he ate did not make the best decision in choosing Danny O’Brien over Joel Stave in 2012. Gary Andersen gave the reins to Stave in 2013 and by all accounts he led the Badgers to a solid season.

Then for some strange reason, Andersen pulled his first Bielema and started Tanner McEvoy and pulled Melvin Gordon against LSU, two moves that confounded everyone, but probably Stave most of all.

But our guy Stave pulled through and, after another “why do we keep losing at Northwestern” moment in Week 5, got us back on track for an 8-1 record and the Badgers first bowl win since the 2009 Champs Sports Bowl.

For all of his faults, which can be many and frustrating (Auburn’s first half, ASU quick kneel, the “yips”) we can be rest assured that, when the time is right, he can get job No. 2 done pretty darn well when we need him to.

Joel Stave answers questions during 2015 Big Ten Football Media Days: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

That’s why he’s my fourth favorite Wisconsin quarterback. Obviously John Stocco, Brooks Bollinger and Russell Wilson are the top three, in that order.

I’d like to think that with no clear dynamic WR around him Stave is a clear option over O’Brien, McEvoy or Curt Phillips any day. Another season like 2013 and he’ll surpass Sorgi and Scott Tolzien in the record books, but those guys had Lee Evans and Nick Toon.

At the end of the day, all the Badgers need is someone to be like Matt Schabert.

And if Joel Stave can be just as good as Matt Schabert in his shining moment, then Alabama and the rest of the schedule better watch out.

Next: Senior Spotlight: Tyler Marz

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