It’s no secret that Wisconsin football quarterback Graham Mertz has been under the microscope this season. He entered the program as the highest-rated quarterback to ever commit to Wisconsin in the modern rankings era.
Many Wisconsin football fans saw him as the savior of the program, giving the Badgers a real shot at a College Football Playoff berth and a chance at a national championship.
Instead, he’s really been struggling this season so far. Before the Michigan game, he had thrown for one touchdown and six interceptions. His play had a lot of fans calling for his job on Twitter, begging the Badgers to try Chase Wolf instead.
Well, those same Wisconsin football fans got their wish in Week 5 against Michigan. After Graham Mertz got knocked out of the game early in the 3rd quarter, Chase Wolf got his chance.
Paul Chryst and the coaches let him ease into the game, running the ball his first few plays. But on a 3rd-and-medium, Michigan brought the pressure and he dumped off a nice little pass to Berger for a 9-yard gain and a first down. So not too bad, right?
Wolf then got three straight opportunities to pass the ball and he went 0-3, leading to a Wisconsin punt.
His final stat line wasn’t pretty. He finished 3-of-8 for 52 yards, a touchdown, and an ugly interception. I will say that his touchdown looked pretty nice, but it’s going to take more than a garbage-time touchdown to convince the fans that Wolf is the guy.
And for fans who are whispering for Deacon Hill, just stop. Hill is a true freshman who may be talented but would be put in a very difficult situation if he started over Mertz and Wolf and was expected to win.
Plus, let’s just take a second and think about Mertz before he was hurt. He finished the second half on fire, with two dimes to Chimere Dike to pull the Badgers to within 3 before halftime.
I know it’s frustrating that Mertz hasn’t been what we all wanted him to be, but he is still a sophomore and is still a kid. He is still developing. Not that he’s paying attention to the outside noise, but adding pressure by calling for his job and verbally abusing him via social media isn’t going to make him play any better.
There’s still time to salvage the season and make a bowl game, and assuming he is healthy, Mertz is going to be the guy to lead them.