By Adam Roberts – 10/26/2020
Graham Mertz was the talk of college football social media after the Badgers’ 45-7 win over Illinois. He was surgical in the first half, completing 14 of 14 passes for four touchdowns in the first half, and other than a Garrett Groshek drop he would have been a perfect 21-21 on the day. He had one more touchdown pass, and further proved why the biggest quarterback prospect in school history should be under center.
Unfortunately, just about 48 hours from his electric debut, he may be unavailable for the next three weeks.
After his shining debut over the weekend, the redshirt freshman quarterback has tested positive for COVID-19. According to reports, the positive test came after Saturday’s game. If Mertz tests positive a second time, he will have to sit out at least 21 days, which would bench him for the ninth-ranked Badgers’ games at Nebraska, versus Purdue at home, and at #13 Michigan November 14th.
It should be noted that the Badgers have had a number of false positives so far this year from the rapid antigen test. Whatever the result, it should serve as another reminder that in the COVID era, nothing is guaranteed and sports are truly a week-to-week ordeal.
Should Mertz be unavailable, backup Chase Wolf would get the start against the Cornhuskers on Saturday; assumed Week One starter Jack Coan is still recovering from a leg injury he suffered in practice. Wolf has completed just one pass for the Badgers.
*UPDATE* Head coach Paul Chryst speaking with media this morning says: “Obviously there’s a lot of talk right now about what’s going on within our team and I will not, cannot, and should not comment on anything dealing with our testing and coronavirus.”
We’ll follow this story and provide more updates as they become available. It’s important to remember that sources need to be confirmed, and we will only report on this when we’re comfortable that initial sources have the story correct. Either way, we’ll have coverage from Lincoln on Saturday beginning at 12:30pm.