Banged-up Wisconsin tries to keep up in division race, faces Indiana

Field Level Media

October 31, 2023 at 12:32 am.

Already hampered by injuries on offense, Wisconsin might be missing two more key pieces when it travels to Bloomington, Ind., to face Indiana on Saturday with hopes of remaining in the Big Ten West race.

Wisconsin (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) is coming off a 24-10 home loss to third-ranked Ohio State that dropped the Badgers into a four-way tie atop the West division with Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska.

Indiana (2-6, 0-5) lost 33-24 to then-No. 10 Penn State after being tied at 24 with just under three minutes to play. The Hoosiers have to win their last four games to become bowl-eligible.

Already without starting quarterback Tanner Mordecai and running back Chez Mellusi, the Badgers suffered two more key injuries vs. the Buckeyes. Leading rusher Braelon Allen suffered a leg injury just before the half and returned to the sideline in a walking boot. Senior wideout Chimere Dike, also the team’s leading punt and kickoff returner, also left with a leg injury.

“Don’t know a whole lot,” Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell said. “They were out at practice on Sunday. Didn’t do a whole lot, but it’s only Monday. We’ll have to find some things out during the week.”

Redshirt freshman Braedyn Locke, in his second career start, completed 18 of 39 passes for 165 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions against Ohio State. Redshirt sophomore Jackson Acker had nine carries for 34 yards after Allen went out.

Wisconsin, which was tied 10-10 early in the third quarter against the Buckeyes, managed just 259 yards of total offense.

Indiana outgained the Nittany Lions 349-342 with redshirt freshman Brendan Sorsby passing for 269 yards. Sorsby, in his third career start, tossed three touchdown passes, including a 90-yarder and another for 69 yards.

Sorsby, who replaced Tennessee transfer Tayven Jackson as the starter, is 58-of-108 passing for 689 yards with six touchdowns and one pick in six games.

“You just want to see whoever takes over to take it and then just start growing, and take the position and run with it,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said Monday. “And I think we’ve seen the last few weeks the growth with Brendan.”

Indiana averages 316.4 yards per game while allowing 363.1. The Hoosiers average 18.6 points per game, while giving up 29.8, each ranking 13th in the 14-team conference.

Indiana won the last meeting between the teams 14-6 at Wisconsin in 2020, snapping the Badgers’ 10-game winning streak vs. the Hoosiers. Wisconsin leads the all-time series 41-19-2.

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