Badgers LB Ryan Connelly to miss Pinstripe Bowl

Wisconsin will be without one of its top defenders in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

Coach Paul Chryst said Friday morning that linebacker Ryan Connelly underwent a procedure on an injury that’s lingered the last few games and will not play against Miami.

“[I] feel bad because I know how much he wanted to play in this game,” Chryst said. “He had been going the last four games working through something, so he got that fixed and he won’t be playing.”

A former walk-on, Connelly started every game this season, finishing second on the team in tackles (89), tackles for loss (10) and sacks (3).

“In the three years that I’ve been here,” defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard said, “just watching him grow as a player, watching him grow as a leader, it’s been really unbelievable to see how far he’s come. He’s going to be very hard to replace in the game, obviously.”

The task of replacing him with fall to junior Chris Orr. A 15-game starter in his career, Orr will lineup next to senior TJ Edwards against the Hurricanes.

As for Connelly’s pro prospects, Chryst said the injury shouldn’t impact his ability to get ready for the April’s NFL Draft.

No. 16 Wisconsin 101, Savannah State 60: Last word

MADISON — No. 16 Wisconsin topped the century mark for the first time in five years on its way to a 101-60 win over Savannah State on Thursday night at the Kohl Center.

Player of the Game: Brad Davison

Mired in an offensive slump and under a little fire after a flagrant foul against Marquette, the sophomore guard came out gunning on Thursday night. Following an eight-game stretch where he hit just 5 of 24 shots from beyond the arc, Davison went 5-for-6 on 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 19 points in the first half. He finished the blowout win with 24 points and a career-high six 3s, while also doing the things that make him so vital to Wisconsin — getting four steals and five assists. It was a big bounce back effort from Davison.

The good: Tai Strickland

With sophomore Trevor Anderson done for the year, the true freshman could very well need to give Wisconsin minutes at point guard down the road. He showed on Thursday he might be able to do that. Getting an extended run for the first time this season, Strickland had a career-high 14 points, six assists and two steals. He also had a pair of turnovers that coach Greg Gard made sure to point out afterwards, but the game, against what is probably the worst team the Badgers will face this year, gave us our first glimpse of what Strickland could offer.

The not so good: N/A

Stat of the game: 69

That’s how many points Wisconsin scored in the first half — breaking the single-half school record set in 1988 against Iowa.

What they said:

“I like what we’ve done. I know we’re sitting at 9-2. If you ask all our guys in the locker room they think they should be 11-0, which is a good thing. (They know) there are things in those games that we didn’t do well enough that we can get better at. We’ll have more opportunities to show we’re better coming down the road.”

— Gard on where his team sits 11 games in

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In Case You Missed It:

— Senior Khalil Iverson missed the game with a lower left leg injury. Gard said afterward they expect him back sooner rather than later but didn’t have an exact time on it.

— Ethan Happ had 18 points and 11 rebounds. It was his eighth double-double of the season and the 40th of his career.

— Wisconsin topped 100 points for the first time since 2013 and just the second time ever at the Kohl Center.

— D’Mitrik Trice went 4-for-7 from beyond the arc, raising his season average to 55.6-percent on the season.

What’s next?

Wisconsin (9-2, 2-0) are off for final exams and won’t return to the court until Dec. 22 against Grambling State.

The Swing: Dec. 11, 2018

On this week’s episode of “The Swing,” Zach and Jesse recap the Marquette game, talk about why Brad Davison is struggling, debate Ethan Happ’s place among the best players in school history and answer your Twitter questions.

:37 — Wisconsin still has a ways to go to reach its potential

10:21 — Fact or Fiction (Brad Davison edition)
1) Brad Davison hurt Wisconsin more than he helped on Saturday
2) Brad Davison can be an efficient offensive player at shooting guard
3) In the long run, Brad Davison’s four charge game has ended up being a bad thing
4) Brad Davison’s hit to Joey Hauser’s groin was intentional

22:58 — Is Ethan Happ already a top 5 player in Wisconsin history?

32:19 — Free throw shooting…what the heck?

36:39 — What Wisconsin is getting in Ohio State transfer Micah Potter

39:07 — Twitter questions

Wisconsin adds Ohio State transfer

Wisconsin has added to its front court for 2019 and beyond.

The Badgers announced Monday that 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward Micah Potter had transferred to Wisconsin from Ohio State.

“I’m very excited about going to Wisconsin,” Potter said in a school release. “Pretty much as soon as I got there on my visit, I fell in love with it. It’s hard not to like Madison. It’s beautiful there, and its Wisconsin basketball. You can’t get much better than that.”

Potter spent two seasons with the Buckeyes, playing in 59 games and averaging 4.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. A 3-star recruit coming out of Mentor, Ohio, in the class of 2016, Potter held scholarship offers Clemson, Iowa, NC State and West Virginia among others before choosing Ohio State.

“It’s a perfect fit,” Gard said in the release, “in terms of our system, how he plays, how we play with our bigs and what he can bring to the table as a player. When you look at transfers, you have to do your due diligence from a cultural standpoint and make sure they’re going to be about the right things. There’s no doubt Micah is about the team first and he wants to be part of something bigger than himself. He understands the big picture.”

Potter will join Wisconsin at the semester break and will be eligible to play beginning in December of 2019, though the Badgers could apply for a waiver through the NCAA that would allow him to play at the start of the 2019-20 season.

Three Badgers named AP All-Americans

Jonathan Taylor added another honor to his collection on Monday.

The Wisconsin running back was named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press. Taylor joins Melvin Gordon (2014), Montee Ball (2011, 2012), Ron Dayne (1999) and Alan Ameche (1954) as Badgers runners to receive that recognition. The New Jersey product was a second-team pick last season.

The accolade was just the latest for the sophomore. He was a first-team All-Big Ten pick in addition to being the Ameche-Dayne Running Back of the Year in the conference. Then, last Thursday, he was named the Doak Walker Award winner, an honor that goes to the top running back in the nation.

Taylor ran for 1,989 yards and 15 touchdowns for Wisconsin in the regular season and his 3,966 yards in his first two years combined is more than any other player in FBS history.

Meanwhile, right guard Beau Benzschawel was also a first-team pick by the AP after being a third-team selection last year.

It’s the first time since 2010 that Wisconsin had two players selected to the first team in the same year.

Left guard Michael Deiter was chosen as part of the second team.

Marquette tops No. 12 Wisconsin in overtime

For the second straight weekend the Marquette Golden Eagles took out the No. 12 team in the country.

Last week, it was Kansas State. On Saturday, it was with a 74-69 win over Wisconsin in overtime at Fiserv Forum.

Marquette was paced by Markus Howard’s 27 points. The junior didn’t shoot it well (7 of 29), but he got to the free throw line 15 times and made 12 of those. Freshman Joey Hauser added 15 points, while junior Sam Hauser had 13 points and 14 rebounds.

It was a second straight win for Marquette over the Badgers and it came despite a record scoring effort from Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ. The senior went for a career-high 34 points and added 11 rebounds in the loss. It was his eighth double-double of the year.

But coach Greg Gard didn’t get enough help from other parts of the lineup. Guard D’Mitrik Trice, who came in shooting 60 percent from beyond the arc, had 10 points and was just 1 of 6 on 3s.

For just the third time in his college career, Brad Davison was held scoreless, going 0-for-3 from the field. A near 90 percent free throw shooter, the sophomore was 0 of 3, all of the misses coming in the final 5:36 of regulation.

As a team, Wisconsin shot just 20.8-percent on 3-pointers, the third-lowest percentage of the season. In the Badgers two losses — to Virginia and now Marquette — they are just 7 of 35 from deep.

The more noteworthy stat, though, was the continuing struggles at the free throw line. Wisconsin was remarkably bad on Saturday going just 10 of 21. It’s the third game this year the Badgers have shot under 50-percent from the line.

Marquette moves to 8-2 on the year, while the Badgers fall to 8-2. The Golden Eagles are off until Dec. 18 when they host North Dakota, while Wisconsin will welcome Savannah State to the Kohl Center on Thursday.

Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor wins Doak Walker Award

For the fourth time since 1999 Wisconsin has the best running back in college football.

It was announced Thursday night that sophomore Jonathan Taylor had won the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the top running back in the country.

“I’m really just honored to be here,” Taylor told “(To) be a recipient of the award is a testimony to our coaches, (my) teammates and all the support from my family and friends.”

Taylor joins Ron Dayne (1999), Montee Ball (2012) and Melvin Gordon (2014) as Wisconsin backs to take home the award. It gives the Badgers four different winners, the most of any school in the country.

“I take it very seriously because the things that they’ve done, they put in so much hard work and time into trying to be the best player they [could] be,” Taylor said of maintaining the standard set by previous great Wisconsin backs. “I feel like I can do the same thing. That was one of my goals, just making sure I was being the best player I could be and honor those guys that ran before me…”

With the New Era Pinstripe Bowl still to be played, Taylor has run for a nation-leading 1,989 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, and he’s averaging 7.1 yards every time he gets a carry. Taylor’s career total of 3,966 yards is the most by any FBS player in their first two years of college football and it leaves him sixth all-time in career rushing yards at Wisconsin.

Taylor beat out Memphis’ Darrell Henderson and Clemson’s Travis Etienne for the award.

Wisconsin football assistant coach salaries revealed

Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard got paid more money this season than any assistant coach in school history but that figure just barely put him among the top 50 highest-paid assistants in the country.

USA Today released its annual breakdown of salaries among college football staffs, and the $795,200 made by Leonhard ranks 44th in the country and eighth in the Big Ten. His salary this past season was nearly $200,000 more than in 2017 thanks to a variety of factors, including a stellar product on the field in his first year running the defense and the fact several big time schools tried to pry him away last winter.

The second year of Leonhard’s tenure did not go as smoothly as the first. The Badgers had to replace seven starters from the previous year and then dealt with a large number of injuries throughout the season. It led to Wisconsin finishing outside of the top 20 in scoring defense for the first time since 2010.

As for offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph, he came in at No. 52 in the country at $720,200, while special teams coordinator Chris Haering was No. 196 at $420,200.

Overall, Wisconsin’s assistant salary total of $4,114,500 ranked sixth in the Big Ten and No. 26 in the country.

The rankings are not complete as certain schools, including Northwestern and Penn State, do not have to disclose staff salaries.

Wisconsin staff salaries (overall ranking among assistants on the left)

For the complete USA Today database click here

Packers put CB Kevin King on IR, claim former Wisconsin DB

Kevin King’s season is over.

For a second straight year, the Green Bay Packers cornerback has been placed on injured reserve. He played in just six games this season, his last coming on Nov. 4 against New England in which he suffered a hamstring injury.

Last year, as a rookie, King played in nine games before a shoulder injury landed him on IR. By the end of this year, he’ll have missed 17 of a possible 32 games in his career.

The team also placed running back Tra Carson on IR with a rib injury.

To fill their spots, Green Bay claimed defensive lineman Fadol Brown and former Wisconsin defensive back Natrell Jamerson off of waivers.

A rookie, Jamerson was taken in the fifth round of last April’s NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. He was cut at the end of training camp and landed with the Houston Texans, where he played 10 games. They cut the cornerback this week when running back D’Onta Foreman was activated of the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Brown, an undrafted free agent in 2017, played in eight games for the Oakland Raiders this season.

The Swing: Dec. 4, 2018

On this week’s episode of “The Swing,” Zach and Jesse discuss how good Wisconsin could be this year, debate where Marquette ranks as a rival and answer your Twitter questions.

1:37 — Reaction to one analyst saying Wisconsin is among the national title contenders

7:34 — Comebacks are great but you can’t live that way the whole season

10:57 — Fact or Fiction
1) I’m concerned about Wisconsin’s slow starts.
2) Brevin Pritzl is Wisconsin’s X-factor to a Big Ten title and a deep run in March.
3) Nate Reuvers needs more than 16 minutes of playing time.
4) Tai Strickland will be able to give Wisconsin a Trevor Anderson-like contribution at some point this year.

25:43 — Marquette is a rivalry but it’s not Wisconsin’s biggest

33:32 — How would you game plan to beat Wisconsin?

37:33 — Twitter questions
1) Any new developments on Trevor Anderson’s injury? If he’s out for the season, what would the odds be of getting a medical redshirt? (Megan)
2) What’s the biggest difference between this year and last year? Is it just a healthier team? (Nick)
3) Odds D’Mitrik Trice breaks Bronson Koenig’s single-season made 3-point record? (Alex)
4) What is Greg Gard’s move in end of game scenarios if teams go to hack-a-Happ? (Brian)
5) How much more fun is it covering this team as opposed to last year’s team? (Pete)