Sep 7, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) throws a pass during warmups prior to the game against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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Mertz, starting QB remain up in air for Wisconsin

Wisconsin redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz remains in the COVID-19 protocol, and his availability for Saturday’s game at Michigan is in question.

Offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said Wednesday that Mertz will start against the Wolverines if he has had practice time and is well enough to play once he is released from the protocol. If not, redshirt sophomore Chase Wolf and redshirt junior Danny Vanden Boom will be next up.

“A little bit of uncertainty there, but the guys who have practiced are ready to go,” Rudolph said.

Senior Jack Coan, the starter last season, is out indefinitely after undergoing foot surgery last month.

Wisconsin (1-0) has not played since opening the shortened Big Ten Conference season with a 45-7 win over Illinois on Oct. 23.

Mertz played brilliantly in his first career start, completing a school-record 95.2 percent of his passes (20 of 21) for 248 yards and five touchdowns in the win over the Illini.

Since then, the Badgers have been forced to cancel games at Nebraska and at home against Purdue the past two weekends as a COVID-19 outbreak surged through the program.

As recently as last week, Wisconsin reported 27 active COVID-19 cases, involving 15 players and 12 staff members. Included in that pool were head coach Paul Chryst and two of the team’s three quarterbacks — Mertz and Wolf.

Wisconsin reported Monday the program had five active COVID-19 cases, spread across two players and three staff members.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
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