A win against Illinois came with a price for Wisconsin this past weekend. Center Dan Voltz was lost for the season and it is unknown when wide receiver Robert Wheelwright (leg injury) will return. There is some positive injury-related news though. Starting quarterback Joel Stave has been cleared to practice with the Badgers this week and will be expected to retain the starting job. Stave was forced to leave last weekend’s game against Illinois with a concussion.
“I talked to him [Monday],” wide receiver Alex Erickson said, per a report from Journal Sentinel. “It seemed like he was doing good. Obviously he is going through the protocol and taking that step by step. So we’ll see how that progresses. But he is feeling better.”
On Tuesday during a Big Ten conference call, Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst announced the latest information regarding Stave. Chryst confirmed the quarterback was allowed to practice after completing the concussion protocols. Stave is fifth in the Big Ten in passing with 1,757 passing yards, although he has thrown just eight touchdowns to five interceptions. Having Stave leading the offense at least provides some level of comfort for Chryst, but having to replace the injured Voltz at center is a concern. Voltz injured his knee in the third quarter against the Illini, which will force Wisconsin to move on with redshirt freshman Michael Deiter handling the snapping duties. Deiter has already started six games for Wisconsin, doing so at left guard and once at center, so he is not completely lacking in starting experience.
Wisconsin hosts Rutgers this Saturday. At 6-2, the Badgers are still very much in the hunt for the Big Ten West Division championship, although the Iowa Hawkeyes will have to lose twice in order for that to be a possibility. Iowa defeated Wisconsin, 10-6, back in Week 5 to claim a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Badgers.