Oct 22, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers safety John Torchio (15) returns an interception for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Football: Torchio Named Semi-finalist for Prestigious Award

Wisconsin Badgers safety John Torchio has been named as a semi-finalist for a prestigious defensive award.

The Maxwell Football Club released its semi-finalists for the Maxwell and Bednarik Awards. The Bednarik award is presented to the best defensive player in the nation, and Torchio made the list.

Wisconsin Badgers Safety John Torchio Named Bednarik Award Semifinalist

The Bednarik Award semifinalists feature 15 standout players on the defensive side. Torchio is joined by other five other Big Ten players on the list. Those players include Jer’Zhan Newton and Devon Witherspoon out of Illinois, Jack Campbell from Iowa, Tommy Eichenberg from Ohio State, and Joey Porter Jr. from Penn State.

The Badgers’ safety faces a tough battle against some spectacular defensive players. However, Torchio has had a season to remember in his senior year.

The 6-foot-1, 212-pound safety has totaled 42 tackles in eight games, the second most on the team. Additionally, Torchio has tied for the most interceptions in college football with five, two of which he returned for touchdowns. Also, he has registered ten pass breakups in the safety position.

Torchio earned the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Purdue. In that game, he registered ten tackles, two interceptions, and a touchdown.

In short, Torchio has been spectacular for Wisconsin this season. He has now received recognition from the Maxwell Football Club for his performance in 2022.

The Badgers will take on the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday as Torchio looks to continue his high level of play.

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Sep 10, 2022; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; General view of Camp Randall Stadium during the second quarter of the game between the Washington State Cougars and Wisconsin Badgers. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin Badgers ROS Forecast

The Wisconsin Badgers have been a rollercoaster this year, and despite all the adversity, they have shown flashes of good football. The identity is unlike the Badger’s history, a team that excels through the air. Jim Leonhard, serving as the interim head coach, has done an excellent job at not letting this season spiral too much and keeping the guys going in the face of adversity.

Offense

The Badgers have a stout defense and a great running back in Braelon Allen, but Graham Mertz and this passing game are evolving. Bobby Engram has done an excellent job of meshing the two by running play-action and plenty of RPOs. The offensive line did a stellar job against Purdue by limiting pressure and dominating in the run game. Wideouts Chimere Dike and Skyler Bell have been Mertzs favorite targets for 35% of the team’s receptions.

Graham Mertz is three touchdowns away from 5th all-time for pass touchdowns for the Badgers, and three more passing touchdowns would also put him top five single-season pass touchdowns. Despite all the criticism Graham has received this year, he has played very well for the Badgers.

Defense

Defensively, we saw an excellent defensive effort against the Purdue Boilermakers.  John Torchio paved the way with two of the three interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.  The defense was firing on all cylinders with a pair of sacks to go along with the forced turnovers.  Jim Leonhard has done an excellent job at scheming guys up to have the chance to make plays defensively.  If the Badgers can get healthier on this side of the ball, they will be tough to beat.

Injuries

The bye week comes at a good time for the Badgers.  We should see linebacker Nick Herbig back for the upcoming Maryland game.  Running back Chez Mellusi is still recovering from a wrist injury and has no timetable for return yet.  A few other notable guys that were out and will benefit from this bye week are defensive end Isaiah Mullens and tight end Hayden Rucci.  Getting these guys back is no guarantee, but the Badgers would benefit greatly.

The Last Four

The Wisconsin Badgers have four games left, two of which will be played at Camp Randall.  All four of these games will be winnable and a chance to finish the season on a high note.  The next four opponents are the following: Maryland, @ Iowa, @ Nebraska, and Minnesota.  With these four conference games to end the season, they have a lot on the line for the chance at a bowl game.

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