The struggles of the Wisconsin Badgers have been well documented this season. The inability to replace Russell Wilson at quarterback, the attack on Heisman finalist Montee Ball, and the surprising loss at the hands of Oregon State have dampened expectations for the Badgers.
Today’s win over UTEP was another game the Badgers played down to their competition as they took just a seven point lead into the fourth quarter before pulling away with a 37-26 victory.
The win did not come without a price though as Ball was forced out of the game with an apparent concussion after taking a blow to his head on his 1-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the second quarter.
Ball suffered a concussion stemming from the attack at the hands of three students in downtown Madison. The concussion kept Ball out of practice at the beginning of the season, but he has not missed any game action as a result of the concussion.
However, after rushing for 1,923 yards on a 6.3 yards per carry average and accounting for 39 total touchdowns as a junior, the senior has dipped to a 3.8 yards per carry clip and has only reached the end zone three times in four games.
The Badgers rank 115th in the nation in scoring and 96th in rushing and will need Ball to return to his form of a year ago to help a passing offense that ranks 117th in the nation in order to beat Nebraska next week and to navigate the waters in a murky Big Ten.
The big question tonight is whether how much Ball is going to be limited in practice this week following his second concussion in seven weeks and if he will even suit up at all vs. Nebraska.
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Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and avid college football fan, and the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here.