Wisconsin loses starting center for rest of season
MADISON, Wis. (AP) Wisconsin has lost starting center Dan Voltz for the season with a knee injury suffered in the 24-13 victory over Illinois.
”Dan meant a lot to the team and certainly the offensive line,” coach Paul Chryst said Monday. ”But we have guys that are ready.”
Redshirt freshman Michael Deiter will make his second start of the season at center for Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten) against Rutgers (3-4, 1-3) on Saturday.
”The thing I appreciate from Michael is that he doesn’t flinch. He just rolls with it,” Chryst said of Deiter, who has started seven games at left guard and started at center against Purdue in place of Voltz when he was out with an elbow injury.
Chryst said it is also uncertain whether injured wide receiver Robert Wheelwright (leg) will return this season. He had three catches for 47 yards and a team-leading fourth receiving touchdown against Illinois before going down in the third quarter.
Starting quarterback Joel Stave, who was also injured at Illinois, is going through concussion protocol and expected to be ready for Rutgers.
Chryst said the run of injuries this season – which has cost Wisconsin six projected starters on offense and left the offensive line in flux — is simply a part of the game.
”You feel bad for the guys that miss, and you are excited for the other guys’ opportunity, and then it’s your job to try to help them maximize that opportunity,” he said.
Starting wide receiver Alex Erickson said the team’s resiliency has become one of its strengths.
”When guys go down, you feel for them,” said Erickson, who led the Badgers in rushing and receiving against Illinois. ”But you see guys emerging, guys who are willing to lay it out there and come in and let it all go and play fast and trust themselves and it’s pretty cool to see.”
Running back Corey Clement (sports hernia), who didn’t make the trip to Illinois, remains listed as day-to-day and has been cleared to practice.
Notes: Senior punter Drew Meyer was named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week after averaging 46.8 yards per punt and placing three inside the 20-yard line against Illinois. He also recorded three 50-yard punts for the second time this season. . Chryst also said he does not expect fifth-year senior guard Ray Ball and redshirt sophomore tackle Hayden Biegel, who have been out with injuries, to return this season.