Jonathan Ward vs. the Wisconsin linebackers
Senior running back Jonathan Ward is a big part of the offense for Central Michigan. Ward is a true dual-threat running back. In his sophomore season, he ran for over 1,000 yards and 470 yards receiving. He looked like he would be a productive running back for the next two seasons. Unfortunately, he had an injury-plagued season last year, which contributed to the team’s disastrous 1-11 season.
Coming back from his injury, he had a nice game to open the season for Central Michigan. He ran the ball 22 times and had 158 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught the ball three times for 53 yards, finishing second on the team in receiving yards.
If the Chippewas want to have a shot at upsetting Wisconsin football on the road, Jonathan Ward will be a huge reason why. The Wisconsin linebackers will have a tough challenge ahead of them to keep him contained, especially if they are missing linebackers to injury. Izayah Green-May is out with a right arm injury, and middle linebacker Chris Orr is questionable with a right leg injury.
Luckily, Wisconsin football has some depth at linebacker. Sanborn looked good starting opposite of Orr last week, with five tackles. Backup linebackers Mike Maskalunas and true freshman Leo Chenal were also very active and productive against USF. Maskalunas led the team with six tackles, five of which were solo, including a nice hit on South Florida’s punter on a 4th down fake punt to force a turnover on downs. Chenal added three solo tackles in a nice college debut.
The outside linebackers looked good as well. Zack Baun had three tackles and a strip-sack that led to a Matt Henningsen return for a touchdown and opened the flood gates for the Badgers. Jaylan Franklin got in on the action as well, tallying a sack in the second half of the game. Noah Burks got some playing time last week too, so with Green-May being out for this game, the Badgers’ linebackers should be in good shape to contain Ward and the Chippewa’s running attack.