Badgers sticking with Tanner McEvoy
September, 2, 2014
By Josh Moyer | ESPN.com
For better or worse, Wisconsin is sticking with Tanner McEvoy at quarterback. Turns out it really has no other option right now.
Badgers coach Gary Andersen revealed Tuesday that backup quarterback Joel Stave is experiencing shoulder issues and will be out an undetermined period of time. The injury is the reason Stave didn't play in an LSU game that saw McEvoy finish 8-of-24 for 50 yards with two interceptions. And it's why redshirt sophomore Bart Houston will take over the No. 2 spot this week.
There's more logic -- and less mystery -- with this sudden injury announcement, unlike Melvin Gordon's. Andersen noticed Stave favoring his shoulder a few weeks ago, around the second scrimmage, and the staff made the call he wouldn't be available against the Tigers. Obviously, he didn't want to give LSU an advantage by tipping them off. And only recently did Andersen decide to shut Stave down completely.
Still, there could be some good news for the Badgers. The next four weeks aren't loaded with big-time opponents, so there shouldn't be much short-term concern for Wisconsin. The big concern: Just when is Stave coming back?
Mike McGinnis/Getty ImagesTanner McEvoy completed just 33 percent of his passes in the opening loss to LSU.
"The time for him to be back is completely unknown," Andersen said during Tuesday's Big Ten teleconference, adding he didn't know whether he'd return in time for the conference opener. "It's a day-to-day injury; it's not anything more than that."
McEvoy will certainly have enough opportunities at improvement. Wisconsin faces FCS Western Illinois this weekend, then has a bye before going up against Bowling Green and South Florida. The Falcons had the No. 46 rushing defense last season, while the Bulls had just two total wins.
Wisconsin's passing game is a huge concern, so defenses are sure to key in on the run. Gordon and Corey Clement will have their work cut out for them, unless one of two things happens: One, Stave is OK by Oct. 4 -- the B1G opener at Northwestern -- or McEvoy can put the first week behind him.
It's not an easy situation for the Badgers. But, with Stave out, there's no easy fix.
"We're going to keep going with Joel and hope to get him back in the position where he'll be ready to go and help this football team," Andersen said. "And we're all looking forward to that day moving forward. But it's very frustrating for that man today."
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF Final Illinois 18 Louisiana Tech 35
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
Final Marshall 52 Northern Illinois 23 Final Navy 17 San Diego State 16
Final Central Michigan 48 Western Kentucky 49 Final Fresno State 6 Rice 30
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State