Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave did not start in the season-opening loss to LSU, and an explanation for the surprising start for Tanner McEvoy might have been due to a shoulder injury for Stave.
Ralph D. Russo of The Associated Press reported the apparent shoulder injury for Stave on Tuesday:
Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State Journal added an unusual detail:
Benjamin Worgull of BadgersNation.com broke down what exactly is going on:
Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen expanded on the issue:
Last season, Stave compiled 2,494 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions along with a 138.1 passer rating. He also led the Badgers to a 9-4 record, losing the last two games of the season to Penn State and South Carolina, the latter being the Capital One Bowl.
Brian Bennett of ESPN provides comments from coach Gary Andersen on the injury:
While Stave certainly wasn't phenomenal for the Badgers, he provided stability under center in 2013. With the quarterback out indefinitely, McEvoy will have to step up more than he did against LSU in the opener, where he went just 8-of-24 passing for 50 yards and two interceptions in a losing effort.
The announcement also comes on the heels of a hip flexor for Melvin Gordon, per Chip Patterson of CBS Sports. It appears Gordon will still be on the field for Week 2, but will need better quarterback play moving forward to succeed.
Bill Bender of Sporting News believes the quarterback play was the difference for LSU and Wisconsin:
Tanner McEvoy, who finished 8-of-24, threw two costly interceptions in the fourth quarter. Jennings had about the same luck through the air (9-of-21), but took advantage of playmakers on the outside in Travin Dural and Diarse. That led to a 188-yard difference in passing yards.
Needless to say, the Stave injury is a crucial one for the Badgers.
Luckily, the schedule moving forward isn't exactly as daunting as the opener against LSU. Wisconsin now has three straight home contests against Western Illinois, Bowling Green and South Florida before traveling to take on Northwestern.
If McEvoy can settle in and Gordon can thrive in the backfield, this might still be a successful season for the Badgers. But with the timetable on Stave unknown, quarterback play will certainly be a question mark moving forward.
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