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Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Wilson and Badgers might equal title

By Tyler Norsworthy


Douglas Jones/US Presswire
NC State transfer Russell Wilson gives Wisconsin creative options at QB it didn't have in 2010.

The Wisconsin Badgers enter the 2011 season with championship aspirations and a new quarterback who could hold the key to whether they realize those aspirations.

The addition of Russell Wilson, who transferred in from the North Carolina State Wolfpack for his final year of eligibility, could give Wisconsin creative options out of the quarterback position that coach Bret Bielema didn’t have in 2010 with Johnny Unitas Golden Arm winner Scott Tolzien.

Tolzien was an economical quarterback with the country’s second-highest pass completion percentage (72.9), but Wilson is a playmaker who led the ACC in passing yards per game (277.8) and overall offense (313.9).

Wisconsin’s run-first mentality – the Badgers had the 12th-most rushing yards in the nation in 2010 – should give Wilson opportunities to take advantage of play-action fakes. Against ACC opponents last season, Wilson’s completion percentage, passing efficiency and touchdown-interception ratio were all superior when throwing after a play-action fake.

What’s more, Wilson can create offense with his feet. Whether avoiding a sack or scrambling for a first down, he has been more than capable. In 2010, on third down and seven-or-more yards, Wilson was tied for the most first-down rushes in the country with seven. Only Cam Newton and Terrelle Pryor were able to rush for as many.