StaTuesday: Badgers’ Coan spreading it around in passing game

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              Wisconsin's Jack Coan throws during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Central Michigan Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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Quintez Cephus’ return to Wisconsin was certainly going to be a boon for the Badgers. Six games in we know how much: A lot.

Cephus has been quarterback Jack Coan’s most popular target halfway through the season. The wide receiver has led the team in targets in four of the first six games. Overall, Cephus has been targeted a team-high 29 times by Coan. Jake Ferguson is the only other player with more than 20 targets; he has 21.

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This, of course, speaks to something else: Coan has spread the ball around. He’s targeted 13 different players this season (not counting one intentional throw away) with 10 of those players having at least one reception.

Last year in his five games, Coan targeted just 10 players, with just five having 5+ targets. In 2019, that number is seven.

In 2018, five Badgers had double-digit receptions all season. This year, six have already reached 10 catches and Kendric Pryor has eight.

Here’s Coan’s number of targeted players each game: South Florida – 11; Central Michigan – 7; Michigan – 7; Northwestern – 8; Kent State – 7; Michigan State – 9.

Only three times has a player had six or more targets from Coan in a game – A.J. Taylor had nine and Cephus eight against Central Michigan and Cephus had six vs. Northwestern.

Below is the list of the season targets for Coan. Note, we do include plays either lost to penalty or incomplete passes in which a penalty occurred (i.e. no plays, but yet they still occurred and give an insight of who the quarterback is targeting). So, if you want to do a catch percentage for Ferguson, for example, you’d divide his catches (15) by his targets. In order to get his “real” targets, take his 20 targets and minus his two from penalties, which would be 18 (15/18=83.3%). Also of interest: no drops yet for Wisconsin; the Badgers had 13 of those in 2018.

PLAYER TARGETS CATCHES DROPS INT LOST/PEN INC/PEN
Cephus 29 19 1
Chenal 3 2
Davis 18 15
Dunn 1 1
Ferguson 20 15 1 1
Groshek 13 12
Krumholz 2
Pryor 11 8 1
Schipper 1
Stokke 2
Taylor, AJ 18 15
Taylor, J. 18 15
Watson 1 1
Thrown away 1
TOTALS 138 103 0 1 2 1

If you’re curious about other quarterbacks:

Graham Mertz has targeted five players: John Chenal (one, but incomplete/penalty), Aron Cruickshank (three targets, three catches), Jack Dunn (4-3), Adam Krumholz (2-2) and Nakia Watson (1-1). Chase Wolf’s only pass was a completion to Chenal.

One more thing we track is penalties. Wisconsin is averaging just 4.2 per game, which is tied for fifth in the nation. That doesn’t include offsetting penalties or ones which were declined, of which the Badgers have four combined.

Wisconsin has had only 10 offensive penalties in six games, with only two holdings. Here’s the complete list of infractions in the first half of the season. We’ve ordered them by type (note: no announcement was given to who committed the illegal shift against Kent State, so we’ve credited as a “team” penalty).

PLAYER GAME PENALTY YARDS TEAM
Furtney CMU block in back D st
Team Michigan delay of game 5 off
Bruss USF false start 5 off
Cephus Michigan false start 5 off
Erdmann Michigan false start 5 off
Smithback Kent State false start 5 off
Krumholz CMU holding 10 st
Schipper CMU holding D st
Seltzner Michigan holding 10 off
Wilder Michigan holding 2 def
Mullens Kent State holding D st
Erdmann Michigan State holding 10 off
Dunn Michigan illegal block offset st
Franklin USF illegal helmet contact 15 def
Team Kent State illegal shift offset off
Baun Northwestern offsides 5 def
Baun Northwestern offsides 5 def
Wildgoose Michigan pass interference 6 def
Williams Michigan pass interference 15 def
Williams Michigan pass interference D def
Hicks Northwestern pass interference 9 def
Pearson Northwestern pass interference 15 def
Burton Kent State pass interference 11 def
Burrell Michigan personal foul 15 def
Pearson Michigan personal foul 15 def
Wildgoose Northwestern personal foul 15 st
Wilder Kent State personal foul 15 def
Biadasz USF snap infraction 5 off
Erdmann USF unsportsmanlike conduct 15 off
Green-May Northwestern unsportsmanlike conduct 15 def
Burrell Northwestern unsportsmanlike conduct 15 def