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Wisconsin Football Quarterback Earns Big Ten Honors



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

The Wisconsin football team might have something in redshirt freshman quarterback, Braedyn Locke.

In his first career start, Locke helped lead the Badgers to a 25-21 road victory over the Illinois Fighting Illini in a must-win game for the Badgers.

With his performance, the Badgers’ freshman signal caller earned some recognition from the Big Ten Conference. He was named the Freshman of the Week by the Big Ten.

His stats may not necessarily stand out, especially his completion percentage, but Locke put together a nice game for a player making their first start in a Division 1 game. He completed just 51% of his passes, but he threw for 240 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winning score to offensive tackle Nolan Rucci.

Locke’s 240 yards are the fifth-most passing yards by a Wisconsin football quarterback in their first start.

Scott Tolzien – 257 yards
Russell Wilson – 255 yards
Graham Mertz – 248 yards
Jim Sorgi – 243 yards
Braedyn Locke – 240 yards

Breaking Down Braedyn Locke’s First Wisconsin Football Start

In his first start, Locke received a 63.9 (average) offensive grade and a 61.7 (average) passing grade from Pro Football Focus.

According to PFF, Locke had one big time throw, which is defined as ‘a pass with excellent ball location and timing, generally thrown further down the field and/or into a tighter window.’ This pass is likely the dime he dropped late in the game to Skyler Bell to set the Wisconsin football team up with a first and goal and eventually the game-winning pass.

He also had a drop percentage (on-target passes dropped by the receiver) of 8.7%. Had those been completed like they should have, his adjusted completion percentage was 57%. Both of those dropped passes, by Pauling and Bell, were on third downs and would have resulted in first downs. Both plays led to punts, ending their respective drives.

He seemed more confident while in the pocket compared to the Iowa game. Either that or Coach Longo simplified the offense for him a bit for his first start. His average time to throw the ball against Illinois was 2.7 seconds, compared to 3.12 against Iowa the week before. His quarterback rating on an NFL scale went from 46.8 against Iowa to 85.4 against Illinois, so again, showing improvement from a week ago.

Sure, not everything about his game was great, or even good for that matter. But the freshman signal caller has definitely shown Wisconsin football fans a little something to get excited about. Even if this season isn’t turning out how fans or others thought it would, Locke’s play should be seen as a positive thing. If he gets to start the rest of the year with Mordecai out, that will only help him and the program heading into next season.

We’ll see what Braedyn Locke is made of this week as he and the Wisconsin football team faces a huge test next week when Ohio State comes to town in a primetime matchup.

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Christian Borman was born and raised in Wisconsin and covers the Badgers football and basketball programs, plus some recruiting for He previously covered the Wisconsin Badgers for years as the site expert for Badger of Honor of the Fansided Network.