Dec 12, 2020; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) prepares to throw a pass against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the first quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin QB Mertz leaves game with upper-body injury

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz left Saturday’s game against Minnesota because of an upper-body injury.

Mertz was 12-of-20 passing for 132 yards when he left the game in the second half. Backup quarterback Chase Wolf replaced him and quickly completed his first three passes, including one for a touchdown.

The Badgers announced that Mertz was questionable to return.

Mertz started the season with a five-touchdown performance against Illinois, but then he missed almost a month because of a positive COVID-19 test. In four-plus games since returning, he has thrown for only three touchdowns along with five interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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

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

Oct 5, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) throws a pass during warmups prior to the game against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Wisconsin QB Mertz has 2nd positive test

Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz will be out for at least 21 days under Big Ten protocol after a second positive COVID-19 test, CBS Sports reported Tuesday.

The redshirt freshman played brilliantly in his first career start Friday, completing a school-record 95.2 percent of his passes (20 of 21) for 248 yards and five touchdowns in the Badgers’ 45-7 win against Illinois.

In addition to the conference-mandated time off, Mertz will also be required to undergo extensive cardiac testing to investigate any long-term conditions related to the coronavirus.

No. 9 Wisconsin (1-0) continues the Big Ten season Saturday at Nebraska (0-1).

With backup Chase Wolf also reportedly testing positive for COVID-19 and 2019 starter Jack Coan recovering from foot surgery, redshirt junior Danny Vanden Boom is next on the depth chart for the Badgers.

Vanden Boom’s only college pass came two years ago against New Mexico when he threw a 3-yard completion for a touchdown.

–Field Level Media

Oct 5, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) throws a pass during warmups prior to the game against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin coach Chryst mum about Mertz, COVID-19

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst would not discuss reports that quarterback Graham Mertz tested positive for COVID-19 or address his status for Saturday’s game at Nebraska.

“I will not, cannot and should not therefore comment about anything dealing with our testing and coronavirus,” Chryst told reporters Monday.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel cited two sources in reporting that Graham, a redshirt freshman who completed 20 of 21 passes for 248 yards in the 45-7 win, tested positive. One of those sources said the first test was on Saturday.

If the second result is positive, Mertz will be sidelined for 21 days, meaning he would miss the Badgers’ next three games — at Nebraska, at home against Purdue, and at No. 13 Michigan.

Among Big Ten protocols set up before the start of the delayed season, a positive result of a point of contact test, presumably the first test Mertz would have taken, is followed by a polymerase chain reaction test as a confirmation.

One of the Journal Sentinel’s sources said several tests at the school have produced initial positive tests that were not borne out by second tests.

Chryst said Monday that he was confident the No. 9 Badgers (1-0) would be able to play the Cornhuskers (0-1) as planned.

–Field Level Media

Oct 5, 2019; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) throws a pass during warmups prior to the game against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Wisconsin QB Mertz awaits second COVID test result

Two days after Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz threw five touchdown passes in a season-opening win over Illinois, he is left waiting to find out whether a second test for COVID-19 will confirm a previous positive test, according to multiple news outlets Sunday.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel cited two sources in reporting that Graham, a redshirt freshman who completed 20 of 21 passes for 248 yards in the 45-7 win, tested positive. One of those sources said the first test was on Saturday.

If the second result also comes up positive, Mertz will be sidelined for 21 days, meaning he would miss the Badgers’ next three games – at Nebraska, at home against Purdue, and at No. 13 Michigan.

Among Big Ten protocols set up before the start of the delayed season, a positive result of a point of contact test, presumably the first test Mertz would have taken, is followed by a polymerase chain reaction test as a confirmation.

One of the Journal Sentinel’s sources said several tests at the school have produced initial positive tests that were not borne out by second tests.

ESPN reported that Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst is scheduled to meet with the media on Monday.

Mertz’s performance Friday opened eyes as he stepped in after Jack Coan, who threw for 2,727 yards as a junior last season, suffered a right foot injury on Oct. 3. He had surgery four days later and hopes to play this season.

Mertz’s completion percentage (95.2) and touchdown passes set school records for a single game, and he tied a team record with 17 consecutive pass completions.

–Field Level Media

Dec 7, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Jack Coan (17) looks to pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half in the 2019 Big Ten Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Wisconsin QB Coan (foot) out indefinitely

Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan needs foot surgery and will be out for several weeks, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Sunday.

The No. 16 Badgers are scheduled to open the coronavirus-delayed Big Ten season at home on Oct. 24 against Illinois.

Coan sustained the injury in practice on Saturday, per the report.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound senior has started 18 games and played in 25, completing 68.0 percent of his passes for 3,278 yards with 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He also has rushed for five scores.

Last season, Coan completed 236 of 339 passes for 2,727 yards with 18 touchdowns and five picks while leading the Badgers to a 10-4 record, including a 28-27 loss to Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

Redshirt freshman Graham Mertz and redshirt sophomore Chase Wolf are potential replacements for the opener against the Illini.

Mertz was a four-star prospect in the Class of 2019, ranked as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the nation by 247 Sports. He played in two games last season and completed 9 of 10 passes for 73 yards.

–Field Level Media