Ohio State vs. Wisconsin: Clash Is Opportunity for Embattled QB Curt Phillips

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer INovember 17, 2012

Nov 10, 2012; Bloomington, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Curt Phillips (10) runs with the ball during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium. Wisconsin defeats Indiana 62-14. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

You may not know who Curt Phillips is, but how easily we forget that he was a four-star recruit a few years ago when he signed with Wisconsin.

The Kingsport native out of Tennessee was ranked No. 7 among dual-threat recruits in the 2008 class by Rivals.com, right behind former Oregon star Darron Thomas.

ESPN called him "one of the better quarterbacks in this class that no one knows about," adding, "He has everything you want in terms of measurables-- strong, big arm, good size and the best thing about him is he's a good athlete."

But to say Phillips has had bad luck since then would be an understatement. The senior missed the 2010 season with a torn ACL, then missed the 2011 season after tearing his ACL again and opting to have surgery.

And, as Wisconsin offensive coordinator Matt Canada admitted to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Curt would tell you he's not who he was before the injuries, but I think he is probably throwing it as well as he has."

Still, as Wisconsin hosts Ohio State on Saturday complete with its own dual-threat quarterback, Braxton Miller, Phillips has the opportunity to do something special in a tumultuous collegiate career where he hasn't had many opportunities. 

The 6'3", 225-pounder makes his second career start on Saturday in Madison after leading the Badgers to a 62-14 victory over Indiana in relief of the injured Joel Stave last week.

In that game, Phillips—who was clocked running the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds coming out of Sullivan South in 2008—rushed for 68 yards on seven carries, exhibiting the dual-threat ability that made him a four-star prospect a few years ago.

Ohio State's run defense has been formidable this season (allowing 3.49 yards per carry, tied for 24th in the nation, via CFBStats.com), but perhaps Phillips finds some room to run when things break down in the pocket. One thing's for sure: The added dimension he brings to the Badgers gives them a better chance against the Buckeyes than Stave would have.

In a career that has been derailed by injuries, Phillips is being given the opportunity of his lifetime, to start under center for Wisconsin against historic Big Ten rival Ohio State.

If he plays well, he could change the dynamics of the game and potentially uproot the 10-0 Buckeyes.

What a story it would be.

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