Wisconsin could be down to its fourth-string quarterback after backup-turned-starter Graham Mertz and third-stringer Chase Wolf tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Mertz started Friday night’s season opener for the Badgers in a 45-7 win over Illinois and was nearly perfect, completing 20 of his 21 passes for 248 yards. The redshirt freshman tied two program records in that blowout, throwing for five touchdowns while completing his first 17 passes.
According to the Journal Sentinel, Mertz has tested positive twice — first to an antigen test over the weekend and again Monday when given a polymerase chain reaction test. Mertz will now miss at least 21 days, as per Big Ten protocol, while also receiving cardiac screening. It remains to be seen if Wolf has tested positive twice.
Wisconsin started Mertz in its season opener because Jack Coan, the projected starter, had suffered a foot injury during preseason practices and underwent surgery earlier this month.
If Wolf is also out for Wisconsin’s next game against Nebraska this Saturday, fourth-string quarterback Danny Vanden Boom will get the start under center. The redshirt junior played in three games in 2018, completing his lone career passing attempt for a three-yard touchdown.
Badgers coach Paul Chryst said Monday to reporters he’s confident Saturday’s game will take place. According to the Big Ten’s coronavirus protocol, if a team’s positivity rate over a rolling seven-day period exceeds five percent, a game cannot take place, instead declaring it a no contest.
Wisconsin released a statement Sunday night that said no player who competed in Friday’s game had tested positive ahead of the game or had shown symptoms.
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