Wisconsin Football: Injury Report vs. Iowa Hawkeyes

MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 21: Head coach Paul Chryst of the Wisconsin Badgers speaks with an official during a game against the Maryland Terrapins at Camp Randall Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MADISON, WI - OCTOBER 21: Head coach Paul Chryst of the Wisconsin Badgers speaks with an official during a game against the Maryland Terrapins at Camp Randall Stadium on October 21, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The injury report for Wisconsin Football features the same players from last week with the addition of two notable players.

The Wisconsin football team will need all the players they can get given the tough, physical play of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Injuries that Wisconsin endured last week was not the only reason why it lost, but the injuries had an impact.

The absence of outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel and tight end Zander Neuville were noticeable as the game went on.  Both guys are highly productive starters and arguably the unsung heroes of their respective units.  Injuries are a part of this sport and the Badgers will need to show the ability to adapt as the season continues.

Big Ten matchups tend to be absolute battles where one or two plays could be the deciding factor.  Many freshmen will get their first taste of Big Ten action this weekend, and it does not get any more difficult than playing at Kinnick Stadium.  Just ask Ohio State how it went last year playing at Kinnick.

Now that my one jab at Ohio State is finished, let’s take a look at who the Badgers will be missing when they take on Iowa this Saturday night.

TE Zander Neuville

Neuville is listed as questionable for Saturday after he suffered an apparent leg injury against BYU.  It does not appear to be the same leg in which he tore his ACL though.  If Neuville is not able to play against Iowa, the potential for the running game will take a hit.  Neuville is by far Wisconsin’s best blocking tight end.

On many of Jonathan Taylor’s big runs, you can see Neuville being the lead blocker helping Taylor spring into the second level.  Neuville is also an underrated receiver as he has made many important plays in the play action passing game.  His senior leadership and presence on the field are things that will not show up in the box score but definitely have an impact on how successful the offense is.

Given how physical this game will be, Neuville might be one of the most important players on Wisconsin’s roster.

OLB Andrew Van Ginkel

Andrew Van Ginkel is another starter who will be a game-time decision.  Van Ginkel was hurt early on during the BYU game when he tried to make a tackle on the outside.  The Wisconsin defense severely missed Van Ginkel’s playmaking ability as well as how much energy he provides.

The outside linebacker group already had some depth issues even with Van Ginkel healthy.  Given the lack of depth and the heat during last weekend’s game, the outside linebacker play Badger fans are accustomed to was not there.  If Van Ginkel does not play, the Wisconsin defense could have a difficult time applying pressure on Nate Stanley.  Getting to Stanley was the main reason why the Badgers’ defense was so successful in last year’s matchup.

Tyler Johnson, Christian Bell, and Noah Burks will look to fill the void if Van Ginkel cannot play with Zack Baun entrenched as the starter on the opposite side.

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TE Luke Benzschawel

With the return of Neuville, the loss of Benzschawel for Saturday will not have much of an impact.  When the Badgers have all their tight ends available Benzschawel would probably be their fourth option.  With that being said, Benzschawel had a solid performance against Western Kentucky.  He cleared the path for many Taylor and Taiwan Deal runs before he was forced to leave the game with his leg injury.

Neuville is definitely an upgrade compared to Benzschawel but with Neuville’s health still an uncertainty, any setback could leave the Badgers with only two game-ready tight ends.

DE Kraig Howe

The consistent (and healthy) play of Isaiahh Loudermilk makes this injury less damaging to the depth of the defensive line.  Howe is not a projected starter this season, but his absence could still have an impact.

After last week’s shaky play on the defensive line, I am sure Jim Leonhard is looking for someone to step up.  The pressure for Kayden Lyles, Matt Henningsen, and Aaron Vopal to perform and stay healthy alongside Loudermilk has increased with Howe’s injury.

There appears to be no timetable for Howe’s return to the field.

ILB Mike Maskalunas

Maskalunas makes his first appearance on the injury report this season.  The inside linebacker group is loaded with quality players, but you hate to see a promising guy like Maskalunas suffer an injury.

Maskalunas is in the battle for one of the backup inside linebacker slots alongside Chris Orr.  The versatility that Maskalunas possesses also make him a valuable asset on Wisconsin’s various special teams units.

True freshman Jack Sanborn will have to step up as the fourth inside linebacker and handle important roles on special teams.

RB Bradrick Shaw

Shaw’s return will have to wait another week.  I think it is smart that the coaching staff take their time with putting Shaw back into the lineup.

Taiwan Deal is looking like a great compliment to Taylor, and Garrett Groshek and Chris James are quality options on third down and in the passing game.  Shaw has the ability and physical tools to be an excellent running back at Wisconsin.  However, with the options currently in place and the limitations caused by his injury, Shaw should be given time to rehab and rest up.

There has been no update on when we will see Shaw back on the field.

ILB Griffin Grady

Griffin Grady makes another appearance on the injury report and will not play this Saturday.  The inside linebacker position is starting to lose depth given the injury to Mike Maskalunas as well.

The two players who split time as the fourth inside linebacker will again be out against Iowa.  As mentioned earlier, that means true freshman Jack Sanborn will take over those duties.

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Sanborn was one of Wisconsin’s highest-rated recruits in the 2018 class and is expected to be an absolute stud down the road.  It looks like his responsibilities will grow as he is expected to be on the field for both defensive and special teams’ snaps.