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Wisconsin Football Week 2 Stock Report: Short-Handed at Wazzu



Wisconsin Football head coach Luke Fickell
Wisconsin head coach Luke Fickell argues a call during the the fourth quarter of their game Saturday, September 2, 2023 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin beat Buffalo 38-17.

The Wisconsin football team rolls into Week 2 after defeating the Buffalo Bulls on Saturday to start off the 2023 campaign with a 1-0 record.

Next, they will look to avenge their Week 2 loss in 2022 to the Washington State Cougars. Only, this time, the Wisconsin Badgers have to travel to Pullman, Washington to play Wazzu.

Here is the second installment of the BadgerNotes Stock Report.

Wisconsin Football Stock Report: Stock Up

Wisconsin Football Running Backs

I mean, what other player(s) or position could you put here? Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi both looked dominant in the Badgers’ Week 1 victory over Buffalo.

So far, this offense looks as advertised as far as the running game is concerned. All offseason the talk was how this offense would spread opposing defenses out so they couldn’t stack the box. That’s exactly what happened.

Braelon Allen had a fantastic 37-yard run where he blew up multiple defenders. He didn’t get touched until he was 10+ yards down the field. I couldn’t believe how wide-open the middle of the line was when he got the ball. That is something we haven’t seen in the last two years.

Despite being ‘RB2,’ Mellusi looked like a stud against Buffalo. He would be a starter on all but three or four other Big Ten teams outside of the Badgers. He ran the ball aggressively and showed some nice vision, hitting holes and putting on the jets.

Devon Spalding

The running backs coach for the Badgers has his backs looking like a well-oiled machine. Wisconsin football running backs rushed for 313 yards last week against Buffalo. 298 of those yards were from Mellusi and Allen on just 30 combined carries (9.9 yards per carry).

Devon Spalding was also named to 247Sports’ 30Under30 nominee, recognizing some of the top coaches in the nation under 30 years old. He’s got a bright future ahead of him.

But I really have Spalding’s stock skyrocketing because of the hat he wore on the sideline against Buffalo in Week 1.

I didn’t know it was even allowed for a Wisconsin football coach to have any swagger on the sidelines. I must have gotten too accustomed to Paul Chryst’s plain grey sweatshirts with the generic Wisconsin hat.

Wisconsin Football Stock Report: Stock Down

Jordan Turner

Jordan Turner is one of the three very talented ‘starting’ inside linebackers for the Badgers. He had eight total tackles against Buffalo, good for second on the team. PFF also gave him a grade of 74.9 last week, third best on the team.

He’s an important and productive member of the defense. You’d think his play on the field would mean he’d belong in the ‘stock up’ category. And while that might be true, there’s a reason his stock is trending downward, at least for a week.

Unfortunately for Turner and the Wisconsin football defense, he was kicked out of the game late in the second half last week for a targeting penalty.

Because of that, he will have to miss the first half of the game at Washington State. Wazzu also runs the Air Raid offense, so losing Turner and his ability to cover as a linebacker makes this sting a little bit more.

Tanner Mordecai

I think we can all agree that this offense is going to take some time to get to where we all expect it to be. No one thought Wisconsin football would be throwing the ball 40+ times for 350 yards in Week 1 of the season.

But I have to say, I thought Mordecai’s performance was pretty underwhelming.

Sure, his spring game was awful, but you can’t put a ton of stock into that. But he came out against Buffalo, a MAC school, and didn’t look a whole lot better. Sure, he completed 24/31 passes (77%), but for only 189 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. And a couple of those were short passes that the receiver busted for a nice gain.

His best ball was probably his touchdown pass to Chimere Dike, but even then Dike didn’t have a defender within five yards of him. It would have taken a very bad pass to miss him.

You could argue the Skyler Bell drop really messed up Mordecai’s stats. If Bell catches that, it’s likely a touchdown. Mordecai throws a pick on the very next play. Hit stats would look much different if that one play goes the other way.

I’m not going to get all down on him and say the Badgers should start looking into a QB competition. No, his play so far doesn’t necessarily meet the expectations a lot of fans had coming into the season, but it’s just one game. Let’s give it some time.

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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.