Note: all stats courtesy of ESPN.com.
The Deacs take on the Wisconsin Badgers tomorrow at noon, and we’ll continue getting you ready for the game with previews, Q&As, predictions, and more!
Today we take a look at the Wisconsin players to watch out for who could have a big impact on the game.
Keep in mind that the stats seem low because the Badgers only played 6 regular season games this year.
Graham Mertz, Quarterback
The redshirt freshman looked like a Heisman contender in the Badgers’ first game against Illinois before their season was put on pause for a few weeks. In that game, Mertz completed 20 of 21 pass attempts for 248 yards and 5 touchdowns. Since that time he has come back to earth, finishing the season 107-176 passing for 1108 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. He had a 123.0 QB rating. He is not much of a threat to run as he has 26 yards rushing on 31 attempts.
Sam Hartman, in comparison, was 139-236 passing for 1906 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He had a 139.9 QB rating.
While Mertz struggled after the first game, Wake has certainly struggled at times with quarterbacks who can sling the ball downfield, so it could be a very interesting matchup.
Jalen Berger, Garrett Groshek, and Nakia Watson, Running Backs
Berger, a true freshman, led the team in yards per attempt at 5.9, and total rushing yards at 267. In 43 rushing attempts he had 1 touchdown and a long of 23 yards.
Groshek, a senior, had the most attempts on the team with 54, and rushed for 259 yards and a touchdown, with a long of 39 yards.
Watson, a sophomore, had the most rushing touchdowns with 3. He rushed for 191 yards on 53 attempts.
The three-back approach will certainly keep Wake’s defense guessing, and with each having different things they bring to the table, could cause problems up front for a struggling run defense.
Jake Ferguson, Tight End
The junior led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns. Ferguson had 29 catches for 284 yards, and 4 touchdowns. He also averaged 9.8 yards per catch. A big pass-catching tight end can always make a big difference for an offense. Jake was also named First Team All-Big Ten.
Leo Chenal, Linebacker
The sophomore had 35 tackles, 27 solo tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble in Wisconsin’s 6 games this season.
Jack Sanborn, Linebacker
The junior was named Third Team All-Big Ten by the media after leading the team with 41 tackles. He also had 25 solo tackles, 2 tackles for loss, a sack, and a forced fumble. Expect both Sanborn and Chenal to be right in the middle of the defense causing problems over the middle for Sam Hartman and company.
Isaiahh Loudermilk, Defensive End
Another Third Team All Big Ten performer, the junior had 13 tackles, 9 solo tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 2 sacks. Expect him to cause problems all day for the offensive line.
Caesar Williams, Defensive Back
Also named Third Team All Big Ten by the media, the senior had 9 tackles, 4 solo tackles, and 2 pass deflections. Expect him to matchup with either Jaquarii Roberson or Donavon Greene, and try to disrupt their usually highly productive days.
Be sure to tune in at noon on Wednesday and see how the Deacs fair against these players and the Badgers.