Wisconsin Football is set to play host to No. 11 Michigan this weekend. Which Badgers are nursing injuries leading up to this heavyweight Big Ten matchup?
Saturday’s Top 15 showdown between No. 13 Wisconsin and No. 11 Michigan at Camp Randall is arguably the top game on this weekend’s college football slate, and it might just be the most important one on the schedule for the Badgers as well. Having defeated its first two opponents by a score of 110-0, Wisconsin looks as though it could be a legitimate Big Ten title contender this season, and a victory over the Wolverines would serve to validate that status and keep the momentum going into the brutal stretch of conference games the Badgers have coming up.
While Bucky will be without a few key players for this contest that it would obviously love to have against a team of Michigan’s caliber, in general, the Badgers are in fairly good health right now and should be poised to give the Wolverines one heck of a battle.
With that being said, let’s take a look at this week’s injury report for the Badgers.
OUT FOR SEASON
- Cade Green – Wide Receiver
- Gabe Lloyd – Tight End
- Josh Bernhagen – Long Snapper
- Scott Nelson – Safety
- Zander Neuville – Tight End
- Logan Bruss – Offensive Line
- Izayah Green-May – Outside Linebacker
- Luke Benzschawel – Tight End
- Bryson Williams – Nose Tackle
Two big names have been added to the “Out for season” category since the last injury report for the Central Michigan game.
First up was Scott Nelson, who took to Twitter in the hours following Wisconsin’s victory over the Chippewas to announce that his redshirt sophomore season is over as the result of a left leg injury that he suffered against South Florida in Week 1.
While Nelson’s injury is a disappointing setback for one of the most promising young players on the roster and a significant blow to the depth on defense given that he was slated to be the starter at free safety this season, Badger fans can find comfort in the fact that there should be little to no drop off with his replacements. Eric Burrell, who started in Nelson’s place last week and will likely do so again against Michigan, is a reliable, proven player who was expected by many to slide into the vacancy at strong safety created by D’Cota Dixon’s departure that was ultimately filled by Reggie Pearson. We will likely be seeing much more of Collin Wilder as well, and he has been solid as a reserve so far this season.
In addition, one of the best stories of the season so far for the Badgers came to an abrupt end last week when Zander Neuville announced that his football career is officially over after he suffered another injury that will keep him out for the remainder of the season.
While the Badgers weren’t necessarily banking on Neuville playing a huge role this year after he was awarded a surprising sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA just prior to the start of the season given that he did not practice with the team at all in spring or fall camp, the expectation was that we would be seeing him in game action at some point down the line when he was sufficiently up to speed. Again, who knows just how much of an impact Neuville would have had, but nonetheless, he was a proven commodity at a position that the Badgers are dangerously thin at right now and likely would have given them some value behind Jake Ferguson.
Jack Eschenbach remains the top reserve behind Ferguson, and while he and true freshman Clay Cundiff have seen some very limited action through two games, I would expect Paul Chryst to continue using a lot of sets in which Ferguson is the only true tight end on the field.
Speaking of the tight end problem Wisconsin currently faces, Luke Benzschawel will be out for the third straight week as he continues to nurse the right leg injury he suffered in fall camp. As we’ve said before, the injury Benzschawel suffered looked to be pretty severe when it happened, and it may be quite a while until he’s back in action.
Bryson Williams will also be unavailable for the second game in a row as the result of a left leg injury. True freshman Keeanu Benton started in his place against Central Michigan and will do so again this weekend, and the Janesville native has been a revelation in Williams’ absence. Benton was considered by many to be a bit of a project when he arrived on campus this summer, with the potential to become a contributor later in his career after some seasoning in the program. However, he has surpassed those expectations and made an instant impact with his performances through Wisconsin’s first two games, tallying 3 tackles (all solo), including two tackles for loss and doing an excellent job as a run stuffer.
In some good news, two starters have been upgraded to questionable this week after sitting out against Central Michigan, with Logan Bruss and Izayah Green-May resuming their places at the top of this week’s depth chart at right tackle and outside linebacker, respectively.
Bruss has been nursing a left leg injury, and if he is ultimately unable to go against Michigan, look for David Moorman to get the start at right tackle for the second game in a row. He and Tyler Beach are both more than capable of filling in admirably at that position.
Green-May suffered a right arm injury against South Florida that sidelined him in Week 2. Noah Burks started against Central Michigan in his place and will likely get the nod again if Green-May can’t play against Michigan this weekend. Burks is coming off of a solid game against the Chippewas, tallying two tackles (one of them for a loss), and a pass breakup.
This post will be updated should new injury information become available throughout the week.
All stats courtesy of Sports Reference