Fruehauf Going Off

Story by Steve Fruehauf, Copy Editor

Who’s Joel Stave again? Wisconsin’s newest starting quarterback since former starter Danny O’Brien was benched for last week’s game against UTEP.
It was a bold move by Head Coach Bret Bielema since Stave is just a freshman. But that may have been hard to comprehend in the Badgers 37-26 victory over the Miners since he looked anything but a first year player.

Minus one silly interception, Stave had a very solid game. He went twelve for seventeen, throwing for 210 yards and a touchdown. While these statistics are impressive, I have to comment that UTEP’s defense didn’t play well at all. So next week’s game against twenty-fifth ranked Nebraska will truly tell whether his leadership abilities are winning-capable. But dang, this kid has some talent. For a freshman to come out and perform like Stave did is impressive.

But I don’t want to get my hopes up. With any new player, there are some things he needs to work on. He could do with better precision passing.

Also, I feel with some additional practice Stave could be as much of a rushing threat as he is with his arm. He showed some signs of speed last week, but ultimately ended up with negative two rushing yards after a couple sacks.

As for the rest of the team, I think the biggest note to make is that wide receiver Jared Abbrederis FINALLY stepped up. He led receiving with a huge 147 yards and a touchdown connection with Stave. It’s really nice to finally see his potential shine through after a few really rough weeks. But other than Abbrederis’ production, the next nearest receiver had 32 yards. Hopefully as Stave becomes more entwined with the offense, more production will come.

He may have to get comfortable quick since running back Montee Ball is having some issues. He was taken out of the game after the first half due to some hard hits. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, but if it is or it lingers, Stave is going to be looked at to put up some big points through the air.

Before being taken out, Ball accumulated 40 rushing yards and a touchdown. James White and Melvin Gordon shared head rushing responsibility after. White finished with 65 yards and a couple touchdowns while Gordon led with 112 yards and a touchdown.

Regardless to say, we know that the Badgers run game isn’t a problem. But like I said, the receivers still have something to prove. The faith that I was losing has come back ever so slightly after the UTEP game and the quarterback switch. As for next week, I’m thinking Ball will be good to go. So with his rushing game and Stave’s arm, I wouldn’t rule out Wisconsin and an upset win. But it’s a stretch.