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Wisconsin Football Has a Locke to Look Forward To

Wisconsin football might have something in Braedyn Locke at quarterback.



Wisconsin football quarterback Braedyn Locke leads the Badgers to a win over Illinois
Oct 21, 2023; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Braedyn Locke (18) passes during the second half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After a somewhat uneventful relief appearance against Iowa, all eyes were on Braedyn Locke for his first career start as the Wisconsin football QB1. 

Locke, a Texas native, was thrust into the spotlight after the Badgers learned Tanner Mordecai broke his hand, and expectations were high for the young redshirt freshman. 

But after a heroic come-from-behind 25-21 victory over Illinois on Saturday, it’s easy to understand why Luke Fickell and Phil Longo targeted the former four-star passer in the transfer portal.  

Braedyn Locke Provided a Glimpse Into the Future for Wisconsin Football

The inexperience was evident in the first half as Braedyn Locke appeared a bit jittery. Although the Wisconsin football offensive line didn’t do him any favors, his early struggles were apparent. Then, things went south when he fumbled on just their second drive. 

It seemed like a long road ahead for Locke and the Badgers.

However, the turning point came during the last series of the first half. In a remarkable turn of events, Locke led the offense on a 73-yard drive in just a minute and 37 seconds, closing the deficit to a manageable 14-7 heading into the half — and providing the Badgers with some hope. 

But the real magic happened in the fourth quarter. 

The Badgers found themselves down by 11 points with only seven minutes left. Locke’s composure and decision-making came to the forefront. He delivered a daring deep pass to the well-covered Will Pauling, who made an astonishing grab for his first career touchdown. 

It was one of the most impressive efforts we’ve seen from a Wisconsin football WR to go up and make a play for their quarterback all season. 

But Locke wasn’t done there. On the next drive, he threw a perfect deep ball to Skyler Bell, advancing the team to the Illinois 5-yard line. Three plays later, the Badgers secured the lead with a touchdown pass to left tackle Nolan Rucci (yes, you read that right), ultimately sealing the win.

Key Highlights of the Game:

  • QB Braedyn Locke made an exceptional debut as a starter, throwing for 240 yards and 2 TDs on 21-of-41 passing.
  • Locke’s 240 yards marked the fifth-highest passing yardage in a starting debut for a Badgers QB, behind Graham Mertz (248 vs. Illinois in 2020), Russell Wilson (255 vs. UNLV in 2011), Scott Tolzien (257 vs. Northern Illinois in 2009), and Jim Sorgi (243 vs. Purdue in 2000).
  • According to PFF, when the pocket was kept clean, Locke completed 19-of-28 passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns.

  • OL Nolan Rucci secured the victory with a 3-yard touchdown catch from Braedyn Locke, making him the first Badger offensive lineman to score a touchdown since Michael Deiter in 2017.

Final Thoughts 

While it’s just one game, Braedyn Locke showcased tremendous poise, kept his eyes downfield & worked through his progressions, and showed a strong command of the Wisconsin football offense against Illinois. 

It wasn’t all perfect, though. According to Pro Football Focus, Locke completed just 2-of-13 pass attempts when he was under pressure. But the offensive line didn’t exactly have a banner day in pass protection.

Regardless, his performance was truly impressive and potentially hints at a promising future under center for the Badgers—tip of the cap to Lulu-Locke.

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Dillon Graff is a Substack Newsletter Best Selling Author and the Owner of, your go-to source for in-depth coverage of the Wisconsin Badgers. His work has been featured in top media publications like USA Today, Bleacher Report, Verbal Commits, B5Q, Saturday Blitz, and Fansided.