The 2012 season has not been a memorable one for the Wisconsin Badgers. The team sits at a 2-1 record, but they have been anything but impressive. Their two victories have looked more like escapes than wins, and if it wasn’t for a missed field goal at the gun last week against the Utah State Aggies, the Badgers would have suffered their second straight embarrassing defeat.
Now the question Wisconsin faces is who will start at quarterback on Saturday against UTEP. Junior Danny O’Brien has struggled as of late and was benched at halftime during Saturday’s game. Over his past two starts his completion percentage is just over 50%, and he went just 5-of-10 for 63 yards against the Aggies before getting yanked from the game. Wisconsin has scored just 10 points in the last six quarters that O’Brien has been at quarterback.
Freshman Joel Stave came in for O’Brien and didn’t look much better. He completed just 2-of-6 passes for 15 yards. Stave’s inexperience was evident and it was clear Badgers offensive coordinator Matt Canada didn’t want to open up the playbook too much.
Part of the issue is that Wisconsin hasn’t run the ball as effectively as they have in the past which is putting more pressure on the Badger quarterbacks. Although Montee Ball rebounded with a 37 carry and 139 yard performance against Utah State, he only managed 61 yards on the ground two weeks ago and failed to score a touchdown in a 10-7 loss to the Oregon State Beavers.
Head coach Bret Bielema indicated he will decide on his starting quarterback for this Saturday’s game as the week goes along.