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Wisconsin QB Alex Hornibrook wins Manning Passing Academy throwing competition

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It won’t affect the scoreboard one whit come September, but Wisconsin got a nice little victory on Saturday.

The annual Manning Passing Academy came to a close on Saturday with the Air It Out competition among the camp’s counselors, which was comprised of a who’s who of returning college quarterbacks. Among a group that included Penn State’s Trace McSorley, Missouri’s Drew Lock, UCF’s McKenzie Milton, Washington’s Jake Browning, Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Alabama’s Jalen Hurts and others, Badgers quarterback Alex Hornibrook was the only player able to hit the golf cart streaking down the right sideline.

Hornibrook, a rising junior, completed 198-of-318 passes (62.3 percent) for 2,644 yards (8.3 per attempt) with 25 touchdowns against 15 interceptions, good for a 148.61 efficiency rating, which rated 24th nationally. He led the Badgers to a 13-1 record, a Big Ten West championship, an Orange Bowl victory over Miami and a No. 7 final ranking in the AP poll.

Wisconsin has injury concerns at DE ahead of summer camp

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This is, at least at the moment, not exactly optimal for Wisconsin’s defensive line.

The defending Big Ten West champions entered the 2018 offseason fully aware of the fact that they would need to replace three of their top defensive ends.  Redshirt sophomore Isaiahh Loudermilk (pictured) and junior Garrett Rand had been projected as very likely starters coming out of spring practice.

However, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting, there are injury concerns with both of those ends — Lowdermilk because of knee surgery, Rand because of an Achilles injury.

There is cautious optimism that Lowdermilk will be available when the Badgers open summer camp in less than two months.  On the Rand front, though, there is some decided pessimism as the lineman could very well be sidelined for the entire 2018 season as a result of an injury he suffered during summer workouts.

“Isaiahh is going through (rehab) and we’ll see where he is at with it,” head coach Paul Chryst said by way of the Journal Sentinel. “Isaiahh has been doing more, which is good. …

“Garrett will be further away. I haven’t gotten the official update.”

This past season, Rand played in 14 games while Loudermilk saw action in 11.  The former was credited with 13 tackles, the latter 11.

Latest Heisman odds have Stanford’s Bryce Love, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor out front

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Quarterbacks have dominated the conversation when it comes to the Heisman Trophy but 2018 could be a little different when it comes to the nation’s most outstanding player thanks to several running backs elbowing their way to the front of the line.

According to ESPN, the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas just posted their first set of odds for the Heisman this season and have installed Stanford tailback Bryce Love as the betting favorite for the award at 5-1 odds. Following closely on his heels is Wisconsin sophomore back Jonathan Taylor at 7-1 odds.

Love followed in the big shoes left behind on the Farm by Christian McCaffrey and was sensational last season, rushing for 2,118 yards (second in FBS) and won the Doak Walker Award as the best running back in the country. Similar to his fellow Stanford teammates though, he finished as the runner-up for the Heisman to eventual winner Baker Mayfield — the fifth time a Cardinal player finished second in the voting since Toby Gerhart narrowly missed out on the trophy in 2009. While being the favorite by no means guarantees a great season, it does give Love a little extra, um, well… love to kick off his 2018 campaign to shed the groomsman label and finally become a groom himself when it comes to the award.

As for Taylor, he had a terrific debut campaign for the Badgers with 1,977 yards as a true freshman and led his team to an undefeated regular season record, a division title and an Orange Bowl victory. After his spot on the board however it’s all the glamour position of quarterbacks according to the Westgate, which lists Alabama signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa at 10-1, followed by Georgia’s Jake Fromm, Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Arizona’s Khalil Tate all at 14-1.

There’s not been too much movement in the odds following the conclusion of the 2017 season, as Bovada listed Love and Taylor as their two biggest favorites back in January. The full, updated, odds from the Westgate are below:

Love (5-1)

Taylor (7-1)

Tagovailoa (10-1)

Fromm, Herbert, Tate (14-1)

Washington quarterback Jake Browning, Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins, Georgia running back D'Andre Swift, Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham, Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley and West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (20-1)

2020 Northwestern-Wisconsin game at Wrigley Field confirmed

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Late last month, it was reported that college football would be returning to an iconic ballpark.  Tuesday, those reports became officially official as Northwestern has confirmed that it will play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field during the 2020 season.

The Big Ten foes will square off Nov. 7 of that year, with the Wildcats serving as the home team in the historic stadium.

“We are thrilled to return to one of the truly iconic venues in all of sports,” said Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips in a statement. “We’re so appreciative of the collaboration with Tom Ricketts, Crane Kenney and the entire Cubs organization that made this a reality. This is a date that college football fans across the country will be looking forward to until it arrives.”

“This type of experience, just nine miles south of campus, is only available at a place like Northwestern,” NU head football coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “The opportunity to create a bowl game environment for our student-athletes and fans, in the midst of the November battle for the Big Ten West, is one we’re extremely thankful for. It’s one of many big games we’ll host in Chicagoland over the next several years.”

In 2013, it was announced that Wrigley Field would play host to five future Wildcats football games, with the dates not specified at the time.

Northwestern and Illinois played the last game at Wrigley in 2010, but that contest was subject to some significant derision as, because of the baseball park’s configuration, just one of the two end zones were utilized.  That will not be an issue moving forward because of the ongoing restoration of the stadium.

That 2010 matchup marked the first college football game at Wrigley Field since 1938, when DePaul University played home games at the ballpark.  It also marked the first time Northwestern had played Illinois at the home of the Chicago Cubs (then called Cubs Park) since Oct. 27, 1923.

In addition to the 2018 game in the Friendly Confines, at least four future NU football games will be played at Wrigley.  The dates for those matchups have yet to be announced.

Reports: Wrigley Field venue for 2020 Wisconsin-Northwestern game

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For the first time in a decade, college football will be heading back to one of the most iconic baseball ballparks in the country.

First reported by the Chicago Tribune and subsequently confirmed by ESPN.com, it will be formally announced at a Tuesday press conference that the 2020 Wisconsin-Nebraska game will be played at venerable Wrigley Field in Chicago.  According to the Tribune, Wisconsin was chosen as the opponent instead of Illinois, the only other available November road game, because “Northwestern does not want its in-state rival to get a marketing boost from a game at Wrigley Field.”

In 2013, it was announced that Wrigley Field would play host to five future Wildcats football games, with the dates not specified.

Northwestern and Illinois played the last game at Wrigley in 2010, but that contest was subject to some derision as, because of the baseball parks configuration, just one of the two end zones were utilized.  That will not be an issue moving forward because of the ongoing restoration of the stadium.

That 2010 matchup marked the first college football game at Wrigley Field since 1938, when DePaul University played home games at the ballpark.  It also marked the first time Northwestern had played Illinois at the home of the Chicago Cubs (then called Cubs Park) since Oct. 27, 1923.

Wisconsin will, in addition to the Wrigley Field game in 2020, play at historic Lambeau Field in Green Bay that same season.