PISCATAWAY, NJ – There were still 6 minutes, 44 seconds left in the third quarter when Graham Mertz took off the headset from backup Chase Wolf, a sign that the starting quarterback’s day was over and it was time to get some snaps for backup. Was.
It was a handoff made of convenience, not necessity. It seems like an eternity that my inbox and Twitter feed were filling up with fans begging for an ineffectual Mertz to be replaced by Wolf, but that was really only a month ago.
It looked like it would be a nervous move at the time and University of Wisconsin football coach Paul Crist apparently agreed. He stuck with Mertz and never publicly let it happen that he would even consider making a switch.
After putting on the headset at SHI Stadium on Saturday evening, Mertz walked over to Christ and the two bumped into each other. Mertz had thrown 240 yards by that time, matching his season high, and the Badgers were on their way to a 52–3 win over Rutgers, which moved them into a tie for first place in the Big Ten West. and qualified for the UW Bowl. For the 20th consecutive season.
None of those things seemed to be happening back in early October when the Badgers sat 1-3 on aggregate and 0-2 in Big Ten play, but they have now won five games in a row and gained steam as they entered the stretch. are doing. Daud. The win wasn’t UW’s most impressive of the season because of the yes-but-only-Rutgers tag it needs to engage, but it was the most complete because of what it got from Mertz and the passing game.