Offense: Alex Hornibrook
Coach Paul Chryst said he wanted to give his offense a spark when he replaced starter Bart Houston with Hornibrook early in the third quarter, and that’s exactly what he got. The redshirt freshman came in and led a stagnant unit right down the field for a touchdown. After a drop led to an interception, and eventually Georgia State taking a 17-13 lead in the fourth quarter, Hornibrook once again drove the offense down the field and finished it off with the second touchdown pass of his young career. His fourth drive of the day resulted in a field goal, and his final one a first down to salt the game away.
For the day, the Pennsylvania native went 8 of 12 for 122 yards and the one touchdown. And now in two games, he’s 13 of 17 passing for 183 yards and two scores, giving him an efficiency rating of 194.0. For comparison, Houston, against admittedly superior competition by facing LSU in the season opener, has a rating of 128.0.
“I don’t know. I didn’t really compare myself at all,” Hornibrook told reporters when asked what he did better than Houston. “(The media) could probably tell me that better than I could. I was just trying to go in and drive our team down the field.”
Chryst said after the game that Houston is their starting quarterback, but he made no commitment to that being the case when Wisconsin goes to Michigan State next Saturday.
For Hornibrook, it’ll just be business as usual whether he’s with the first-team offense or not.
“It’s just the same as this week, same as the week before,” Hornibrook said about his expectations for the Big Ten opener. “If they tell me to go in, I’m ready to go. And if not, then I’m ready to sit on the sidelines and wait for that chance to go in.”
Defense: T.J. Edwards, Jack Cichy
The defense didn’t play to the level they had in recent weeks, but they did manage to stop Georgia State’s running game from doing anything, limiting the Panthers to just 33 yards and a 1.4-yard per carry average. That had a lot to do with their two starting inside linebackers, who combined for 19 tackles, including 11 by Edwards, who was making his first start of the season.
Special Teams: P.J. Rosowski
Could have gone with kicker Rafael Gaglianone here, but his missed 30-yard field goal at the end of the half loomed large in a tight game, so we’ll go with the kickoff specialist.
Rosowski had six kicks on Saturday and put five of them in the end zone, limiting Georgia State to just one return that ended up going for only 7 yards. For the season, Rosowski now has 13 touchbacks on 19 kickoffs.
Tweet of the Game
Video of the Game
Quote of the Day
“Just got done with the game. Like I said, Bart’s our starter right now. I’m proud of what Alex did and how he came in. I’m not planning anything right now other than appreciating this win.”
Chryst when asked whether Hornibrook or Houston would start against Michigan State
In Case You Missed It
— Running back Corey Clement did not play in the game due to an ankle injury. He’s now missed 10 of Wisconsin’s last 16 games.
— Tight end Troy Fumagalli and backup running back Taiwan Deal each left the game in the first quarter with leg injuries and did not return.
— Kicker Rafael Gaglianone was limping after making his third and final field goal of the day. He was also seen limping when leaving the interview room.
Inside the Numbers
3-0 — That’s Wisconsin’s record so far this season, their first perfect mark through three games since 2011
9 — That’s the number of drives that Alex Hornibrook has led this year. Five resulted in touchdowns, one in a field goal, one in a turnover and two kneel downs.
8 — That’s the number of incompletions Bart Houston had on Saturday. A subjective look at the eight showed four were poor passes, three were dropped and one was broken up.
1 — That’s the number of touchdowns tight end Kyle Penniston has after catching his first career score in the fourth quarter.
0 — That’s the number of penalties Wisconsin had on Saturday — the first time since Nov. 2007 against Michigan that they didn’t have a penalty in a game.
Wisconsin opens the Big Ten schedule with a trip to East Lansing to face Michigan State next Saturday.