If No. 8 Wisconsin is to make a run to a Big Ten title and possible berth in the College Football Playoff, they’ll have to do so without their most productive threat in the passing game.
Earlier in the week, UW confirmed that Quintez Cephus would not play in the Week 11 game against Iowa because of an injury. Thursday, the football program confirmed that not only will the wide receiver miss this coming weekend, but the remainder of the season as well.
The Badgers, who can clinch the Big Ten West division this weekend, have not revealed the specific nature of the injury to his right leg, which the sophomore sustained in the Week 10 win over Indiana.
Cephus currently leads the team in receiving yards (501) and receiving touchdowns (six). He’s also tied for the team lead with 30 receptions and is second in yards per catch at 16.7.
In addition to Cephus, fellow receivers Jazz Peavy (right leg) and George Rushing (left leg) have been ruled out for the Iowa game as well. Peavy, a senior who has five catches for 55 yards on the season, hasn’t played since being injured in the Oct. 7 win over Nebraska.
Defense has been the story of the game so far as Northwestern is putting Wisconsin on upset alert at halftime. Cameron Green caught a short touchdown pass from Clayton Thorson to cap a 12-play scoring drive to take a 10-7 lead on the Badgers in Madison.
Wisconsin avoided a disaster right out of the gates thanks to the defense. After Alex Hornibrook completed a pass to Jazz Peavy for a loss of a yard, Peavy fumbled the football away to Northwestern to set the Wildcats right at the Wisconsin 24-yard line just seconds into the game. The Badgers stuffed a 3rd and 1 run by Justin Jackson for a loss of a yard to force Northwestern to settle for a field goal by Charlie Kuhbander.
The Badgers took a 7-3 lead later in the first quarter on a seven-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Taylor. It was the third-straight run by Taylor to finish the drive from the 15-yard line after starting the possession from the Northwestern 47-yard line.
The two teams traded interceptions on the next two offensive series and followed that up with back-to-back three-and-outs by the offenses. Northwestern’s late second-quarter touchdown drive of 12 plays was the first drive by either team to go more than seven plays in the first half.