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Wisconsin Football Offense Could Lean On “Freak Athlete” After the Bye Week

Wisconsin football might have no other choice but to lean on Braelon Allen coming out of the Badgers bye week.



Wisconsin Badgers football running back Braelon Allen
Sep 16, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen (0) looks on during warmups prior to the game against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

When the Wisconsin Badgers football offense takes the field against Rutgers coming out of the bye week, keep a close eye on star running back Braelon Allen.

After losing running mate Chez Mellusi to a season-ending injury against Purdue, questions about who backfills that role loom large. The obvious solutions are Jackson Acker and Cade Yacamelli, who played different positions for ex-Badgers head coach Paul Chryst last season.

But one potential solution is the Wisconsin Badgers using their “Freak Athlete” like a bell-cow out of necessity — and leaning into what Allen brings to the table.

Wisconsin Football Offense Could Lean On “Freak Athlete” in the Absence of Chez Mellusi

It’s no secret that Wisconsin football has a special talent in running back Braelon Allen, who first broke out as a true freshman in 2021 and has since become a back-to-back All-Big Ten second-team player for the Cardinal and White.

In both of those seasons, Chez Mellusi suffered notable injuries that thrust Allen into a heavy workload that ultimately wore him down. New head coach Luke Fickell is abundantly aware of this and has a plan to manage his workload in an effort to keep him fresh.

But as the great Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”

This brings me to my next point: the Wisconsin Badgers might need to throw that plan out the window and give the 245-pound tailback as many carries as he can physically handle. Through four games, the Fond du Lac native has 52 carries for 371 yards (7.1 YPC) and six touchdowns. Allen also has a team-high 16 catches for 51 yards.

Final Thoughts on the Wisconsin Badgers Running Back Situation

I understand that Braelon Allen could and might even likely wear down. But the Jackson Acker & Cade Yacamelli combo simply cannot give the Wisconsin Badgers football team what they’re losing in Chez Mellusi.

When you consider that the Badgers have a sixth-year quarterback in Tanner Mordecai — and you’re also in a weak Big Ten West division with a clear path to the conference championship — you have to throw caution to the wind and go all-in.

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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.