Packers 17, Seattle 9: 2-minute drill

Green Bay — Aaron Rodgers threw for 311 yards and one touchdown as the Green Bay Packers beat the Seattle Seahawks 17-9 on Sunday at Lambeau Field in the season opener for both teams.

Play of the Game

It was 3-0 Seattle early in the third quarter, and the home crowd was getting restless as the Packers offense struggled to get anything going. Enter defensive tackle Mike Daniels. On first down, he burst through the line, and with an assist from linebacker Nick Perry, got quarterback Russell Wilson to the ground for a sack. Two plays later Daniels was in Wilson’s face again, this time forcing a fumble that linebacker Kyler Fackrell recovered at the 6-yard line. Running back Ty Montgomery would score on the next play and give the Packers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Game Balls

Offense: QB Aaron Rodgers

The two-time MVP didn’t have a vintage afternoon but made enough plays to get Green Bay to 1-0. He went over 300 yards for the first time in a season opener since 2013 despite being under constant pressure. On what proved to be the game-clinching drive, Rodgers scrambled to convert on third-and-4 and later found tight end Martellus Bennett for 26 yards, which served as the dagger the Packers needed.

Defense: DT Mike Daniels

The six-year pro played like a man possessed. He had seven tackles, one tackle for loss, 1.5 sacks, and added four more quarterback hits. Oh, and he had that game-changing forced fumble early in the third quarter. The Seattle offensive line had no hope of slowing Daniels — he knew that and so did they.

Special Teams: P Justin Vogel

Vogel made the team as an undrafted free agent and showed why the Packers kept him around in his first career game. He punted five times, averaging 43.8 yards per punt — and most impressively — 42.4 yards net. He dropped one punt inside the 20 and made dangerous return man Tyler Lockett a non-factor.

 

Quote of the Day

“That’s my quarterback. I always got his back. It’s a bad penalty at that moment in time, but (expletive), I thought it was a cheap shot.”

— tight end Martellus Bennett on shoving linebacker K.J. Wright after he took a shot at quarterback Aaron Rodgers late in the fourth quarter.

In Case You Missed It

— Seattle cornerback Jeremy Lane was ejected from the game in the first quarter after apparently throwing a punch at wide receiver Davante Adams on an interception return.

— Green Bay wide receiver Jordy Nelson hauled in his 500th catch early in the second quarter. He’s just the fourth player in franchise history to accomplish the feat.

— Newly signed outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks left the game early with a concussion. Tackle Jason Spriggs sustained a hamstring injury and didn’t return. Cornerback Damarious Randall was taken to the locker room with cramps but later returned.

Inside the Numbers

12 — That’s how many men Seattle had on the field when Rodgers hooked up with Nelson for a 32-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. Rodgers has become the master at catching teams with too many men on the field, doing it 23 times the last three years, according to FOX.

69.7 — That’s the passer rating for Wilson on Sunday after he completed 14 of 27 passes for 158 yards. It’s actually an improvement over his last visit to Green Bay, when he threw five interceptions in a 38-10 loss in 2016.

39:13 — That’s the time the Packers had the ball, a nearly 2:1 ratio over Seattle.

3 — That’s how many yards former Packers running back Eddie Lacy had on five carries in his return to Green Bay.

What’s Next

Green Bay (1-0) heads south to where its season ended last year in the NFC title game — Atlanta — to take on the Falcons (1-0) as they open their new stadium.

Martellus Bennett on late shove: ‘That’s my quarterback.’

GREEN BAY — Martellus Bennett knew it wasn’t the smart thing to do, but the Green Bay Packers tight end did it anyway.

Franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers had just gone into a head-first dive for a key conversion on third down late in what would turn into a 17-9 season-opening win for Green Bay over Seattle. Trying to stop him was linebacker K.J. Wright, who came flying in hard for the tackle — too hard in the mind of Bennett. The new addition to the Packers offense towered over Wright and gave him a two-handed shove that sent the veteran flying back and pair of flags flying out of the pockets of the officials.

“That’s my quarterback,” Bennett said afterward. “I always got his back. It’s a bad penalty at that moment in time, but (expletive), I thought it was a cheap shot.”

The shove ended up costing Green Bay 15 yards, but a statement was made, too.

“I think this early in the season it kind of sets the tone,” Bennett said. “Let guys know that, ‘Hey, this is what we’ve got. This is who we are.’ It’s our identity. Other people around the league will see it. We got to set the tone. ‘Hey, you taking shots on our quarterback? We take shots on you.’ That’s just the way it is.”

Just as he had Rodgers’ back, his teammates had his. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix could be seen clapping and shouting loudly from the sideline, clearly pleased with what Bennett did.

LISTEN: Martellus Bennett on standing up for Aaron Rodgers

“That’s what we need on this team,” Clinton-Dix said. “We need guys to have each others backs on this team. That was very important to me. Standing up for his teammates. Taking up for a very important player on this team. Just to show his character and who he is as a person. That’s definitely big.

“Damn the flag. It’s about protecting your teammate, and that’s exactly what he did.”

Rodgers said the hit that Wright delivered wasn’t a big one or painful, but that’s irrelevant.

“It meant a lot to me. It really did,” Rodgers said. “Anytime your teammates do something like that it’s special. Those are moments you take with you for a long time.

“I just told Marty right away, ‘Thanks.’”

The penalty ended up meaning little, as three plays later Bennett caught a 26-yard pass from Rodgers that proved to be the dagger in a Green Bay victory.

“I told [coach] Mike (McCarthy), ‘That’s a bad penalty. I’m a vet. I know better than that, but I just can’t let that [expletive] happen.’”

(9) Wisconsin 31, Florida Atlantic 14: 2-minute drill

MADISON — No. 9 Wisconsin (2-0) got 223 yards and three touchdowns from Jonathan Taylor on its way to a 31-14 win over Florida Atlantic (0-2) on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium.

Play of the Game

On their second drive of the game, the Badgers faced a second-and-9 from their 36-yard line. Taylor got the ball going to his left, broke one tackle and saw a crease, which he exploded through for a 64-yard touchdown. It was a sign of what was to come as the Badgers rolled up 357 yards on the ground.

Game Balls

Offense: RB Jonathan Taylor

The true freshman made a really good first impression against Utah State in the opener, and followed that up with an even more impressive showing in Week 2. Taylor scored on runs of 64 and 29 yards in the first half, showing off his burst and balance on both touchdowns. He added a third score in the second half and finished the game with 223 yards to become just the fourth true freshman at Wisconsin to top 200 yards in a game and the first since Zach Brown in 2007.

Defense: LB Leon Jacobs

The senior continues to show outside linebacker is the position he should have been at his entire career. Jacobs finished with six tackles, two tackles for loss and his first sack of the season. He was part of a defense that tallied 10 tackles for loss and five sacks on the day, limiting the Owls to 282 yards, including just 50 after halftime.

Special Teams: Anthony Lotti

Lotti averaged just 38.2 yards per punt, but the sophomore dropped a pair inside the 20, including one at the 4-yard line.

Video of the Game

In their own words

LISTEN: RB Jonathan Taylor meets the media after the game

In Case You Missed It

— Wisconsin’s captains for the day were defensive end Alec James, tight end Troy Fumagalli, safety Natrell Jamerson and wide receiver Jazz Peavy. The honorary captain was former quarterback Matt Schabert.

— A pair of true freshmen — wide receiver Danny Davis and Taylor — earned their first career starts. Davis caught the first pass of his career, a 35-yard reception from quarterback Alex Hornibrook.

— Starting right guard Beau Benzschawel sustained a right leg injury in the second quarter and did not return. Junior Micah Kapoi replaced him.

— Safety Patrick Johnson was ruled out in the second half with an arm injury. It’s the second game in a row that he left with an injury.

— Quarterback Jack Coan completed the first pass of his career, hitting running back Garrett Groshek for six yards and a first down.

Inside the Numbers

101 — That’s the number of yards rushing that junior Chris James put up — the second 100-yard game of his career and the first at Wisconsin.

3 — That’s the number of times quarterback Alex Hornibrook has thrown for at least 200 yards in his career. Two of the three have come this year.

1 — That’s the number of penalties Wisconsin had on Saturday, eight fewer than the Badgers had in the opener against Utah State.

15-0 — That’s Wisconsin’s record when gaining 500 yards or more on offense dating back to the start of the 2012 season. The Badgers had 564 yards of offense on Saturday.

8 — That’s the number of catches tight end Troy Fumagalli had — a career-high. He finished with 92 yards receiving and a touchdown.

What’s Next

Wisconsin (2-0) will hit the road for the first time this season as they visit BYU (1-1) next Saturday.

Preview: (9) Wisconsin vs Florida Atlantic

THE BASICS

The teams: The No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers (1-0) vs the Florida Atlantic Owls (0-1)

The time: 11 a.m. CDT, Saturday

The place: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.

The TV coverage: BTN with Kevin Kugler and Matt Millen in the booth, and Lisa Byington on the sideline.

The last time: This is the first ever meeting between the two schools

The series: N/A

The line: Wisconsin -33

The Badgers injury report:

QUESTIONABLE

RB Bradrick Shaw (leg)

OUT

Game:

RB Taiwan Deal (leg)
DE Chikwe Obasih (knee)
WR Kendric Pryor (face)
WR George Rushing (leg)
FB Jake Whalen (head)

Season:

LB Jack Cichy (knee)
LB Zack Baun (foot)
RB Sam Brodner (knee)
LB Mason Stokke (leg)

THE BREAKDOWN: FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1) A one-time thing or a pattern?

After the way Wisconsin stumbled through much of the first half against Utah State in its opener, the Badgers need to show that it was a one-time thing and not something that will haunt them all year. If forced to choose what we might see on Saturday, we’d say it wasn’t something fans should worry about. But the anxiety will grow significantly if they struggle early against a Florida Atlantic team that Navy beat by 23 points last week.

2) See some improvement

Coach Paul Chryst doesn’t put much stock in the notion of team’s make their biggest jumps from the first game to the second, but he’s certainly looking for significant improvement in a number of areas, perhaps most notably when it comes to penalties. One of the most disciplined teams in the country in 2016, Wisconsin was called for nine penalties against Utah State — more than in any game a year ago. The Badgers need to clean it up, especially those happening before the play starts.

3) Time to dominate

One of the more surprising aspects of the Badgers slow start against Utah State was the inability of the offensive line to create running lanes and keep pressure off of quarterback Alex Hornibrook. Communication issues played a role, for sure, but the size and talent of the line is too great to not move teams like the Aggies and Florida Atlantic off the ball. While Wisconsin ended up rushing for 233 yards, the Badgers still need to show they can do it from the jump, especially against a Owls defense that allowed Navy to run for more than 400 yards in their opener.

4) More Jonathan Taylor

Nearly every player that made their debut a week ago lived up to the hype, but none more so than running back Jonathan Taylor. He showed off his speed, vision, balance and explosiveness in running for 87 yards and a touchdown. Now, with sophomore Bradrick Shaw a little dinged up, we could see a whole lot more of Taylor on Saturday. And if he capitalizes on it, he could stake his claim to being Wisconsin’s lead back moving forward.

5) Hurricane Irma

While five of the seven FBS teams that call Florida home cancelled their games this weekend due to Hurricane Irma, the storm bearing down on South Florida did not deter the Owls from making the trip to Madison. How will what’s happening back home impact the play of 18-to-23-year-old college students who left homes that may not be there when they get back?

And what about the eight players from the state of Florida on the Wisconsin roster? How focused can anyone expect them to be when their families are dealing with a storm of this magnitude?

The debate over whether the game should be played is pointless — it’s obviously going to happen. But the storm’s impact mentally for players on both sides is relevant and something to watch.

NUMBERS TO CONSIDER

Wisconsin is 16-1 under coach Paul Chryst when holding teams to 100 yards or less on the ground.

Alex Hornibrook has thrown 73 passes since his last interception, a stretch that covers seven games. The quarterback’s last interception came in the fourth quarter of Wisconsin’s win over Nebraska last October.

Wisconsin’s 59 points against Utah State were the most under Chryst since he returned as coach in 2015, and the most they’ve put up when he’s been calling plays since hanging 62 on Purdue on Nov. 5, 2011.

After taking the ball away from Utah State four times in the opener, the Badgers are averaging three turnovers forced per game over their last six contests.

PREDICTIONS

Zach Heilprin’s prediction: Wisconsin 52, Florida Atlantic 13 (1-0 on the season, 1-0 against the spread)
Ebo’s prediction: Wisconsin 53, Florida Atlantic 14 (1-0 on the season, 1-0 against the spread)
Joe Miller’s prediction: Wisconsin 56, Florida Atlantic 10 (1-0 on the season, 1-0 against the spread)

RB Eddie Lacy set for return to Green Bay, ponders whether to ‘Lambeau Leap’

Former Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy makes his return to Lambeau Field this weekend as the Seattle Seahawks come to town to open the 2017 season. And while Lacy doesn’t seem to have put much thought into what his return means, he has spent time pondering whether he should perform a Lambeau Leap if he makes it to the end zone with his new team.

“Honestly, I’ve been thinking about that for the past two days,” Lacy told the Seattle media on Thursday. “Part of me wants to, but I don’t want to get pushed down. I really don’t know how the crowd will react to that. Maybe I can find a small patch of Seahawk fans and do it there.”

In reality, Lacy’s return is a lot more than whether he’ll leap or not. Green Bay wanted the former second-round pick back this offseason, but he reportedly wanted to go elsewhere. It just so happened he ended up with a rival of the Packers that figures to be in the way of the organization’s effort to earn a fifth Super Bowl title in franchise history.

“I thought I would be back there,” Lacy said. “I was there for four years. I thought it would continue. But sometimes it just doesn’t work out like that and sometimes a change of scenery isn’t bad.”

It’s not clear how much Lacy’s decision to leave impacted what Green Bay did in the offseason, but it stands to reason the Packers wouldn’t have drafted three running backs in April if the man that ran for the 10th most yards in franchise history hadn’t bolted.

As for Sunday, the Packers are expecting a slimmed down and motivated Lacy. He earned three weight-related bonuses this summer and there are several more he can earn during the season. His weight was a constant story in Green Bay, with coach Mike McCarthy even making mention of it during his season-ending press conference in January of 2016. But in Seattle, the talk has been almost universally positive.

“During the time he’s been with us, all of the work he’s done has really been kind of an ascent,” coach Pete Carroll said this week. “He really hasn’t missed anything. He’s been great about his conditioning work and all that stuff. He’s done a fantastic job. He’s ready to play.”

Wisconsin holds steady in one poll, falls in another

MADISON — Wisconsin won its season opener 59-10 over Utah State last Friday, but it was not enough to impress those that vote in the national polls.

The Badgers dropped one spot in Amway Coaches Poll to No. 11, with Oklahoma State the team replacing them in the top 10.

Meanwhile, in the AP Top 25, Wisconsin passed Florida State, but stayed at No. 9 because Michigan jumped the Badgers, coming in at No. 8.

Overall, there were four teams in the top-10 of the AP poll, while the coaches’ poll had three.

Michigan remains the only team on Wisconsin’s schedule that is currently ranked in either poll, though three others are receiving votes in one or both of the surveys.

Full AP Poll

Full coaches’ poll

Eagles keep former Wisconsin RB Corey Clement

He didn’t get taken in the 2017 NFL Draft, but it looks like things will work out just fine for Corey Clement.

According to Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, the former Wisconsin running back has made the Philadelphia Eagles 53-man roster.

Clement ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns during the preseason, and added another 46 yards on seven catches.

A New Jersey native that grew up about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia, Clement performed at a much higher level than fifth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey, who had just 49 yards on 26 carries.

The news on Clement means the top four running backs from 2013 — James White, Melvin Gordon, Derek Watt and Clement — are all on an NFL roster to start 2017.

Other former Wisconsin players on the bubble that were able to stick included WR Jared Abbrederis (Lions), WR Alex Erickson (Bengals) and CB Darius Hillary (Browns)

Not every Wisconsin player was as fortunate, though, with a number getting cut this weekend.

QB Bart Houston (source)

OT Tyler Marz (source)

RB Dare Ogunbowale (source)

S Dezmen Southward (source)

QB Joel Stave (source)

TE Austin Traylor (source)

OL Kraig Urbik (source)

WR Rob Wheelwright (source)

No. 9 Wisconsin overcomes a slow start to whip Utah State 59-10

MADISON — It took nearly 29 minutes, but No. 9 Wisconsin finally woke up. And once it did, the Badgers turned into a steamroller, scoring 59 unanswered points, including 49 in the second half, to beat Utah State 59-10 on Friday night at Camp Randall Stadium.

Play of the Game

Utah State led 10-7 with 1:01 left in the first half and had a first-and-10 at its own 18-yard line. The Badgers had just gotten their first points of the game, so it would have made sense for the Aggies to be satisfied with their lead and head into halftime. They apparently weren’t satisfied, as quarterback Kent Myers came out throwing and it turned into a disaster. His short toss to Carson Terrell on first down went off the receiver’s hands and right into the waiting arms of linebacker T.J. Edwards.

“That was huge,” safety D’Cota Dixon said afterwards. “It was the hammer and the nail. That’s exactly what you need, especially when you’re down. It was exactly what we needed.”

The interception only led to a field goal, but it was the first of many mistakes the rest of the way for Utah State, which would go on to turn the ball over four times.

Game Balls

Offense: TE Troy Fumagalli

Others were flashier, but the senior posted a career-high 105 yards receiving, picking up where he left off in Wisconsin’s Cotton Bowl victory last January.

His 15-yard catch on third-and-12 in the second quarter kept the Badgers first scoring drive of the game going, and then quarterback Alex Hornibrook found him wide open on third-and-2 early in the third quarter for a 23-yard touchdown.

With his big night, Fumagalli now sits fifth all-time in receiving yards for a tight end at Wisconsin, and will likely end up with the second-most by the time his career is over.

Defense: ILB T.J. Edwards

The junior was everywhere on Friday night, collecting seven tackles, one tackle for loss, picking off one pass and breaking up two more throws. His interception late in the second quarter proved to be the turning point in a game that Utah State led at that point.

But it wasn’t just the numbers for Edwards. It was the passion he played with, finishing off tackles with an emphasis. It was everything you’d expect out of one of the best linebackers in the Big Ten.

Special Teams: K Rafael Gaglianone

He only kicked one field goal — from just 29 yards — but Gaglianone gets the game ball because it was his first time on the field since suffering a season-ending back injury last September.

Wisconsin didn’t need his leg to win on Friday night, but history would suggest they’ll need it at some point this season.

Video of the Game

In their own words

Jonathan Taylor describes his first career touchdown, a 13-yard scamper in the third quarter.

Quote of the Day

“I always describe Coach Chryst as a dad away from home. He’s just the same guy. He’s very smooth, very calm, very collected. But, as a father would when a child needs to be disciplined and needs to be talked to, he will discipline us. He just honestly told us the truth. We were beating ourselves a lot.”

— Dixon on the loud and direct message that coach Paul Chryst gave the team at halftime on Friday night.

In Case You Missed It

— Wisconsin’s captains were defensive end Alec James, wide receiver Jazz Peavy, tight end Troy Fumagalli and safety Natrell Jamerson. The honorary captain was Al Toon, a member of UW’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

— Several true freshmen made their debuts on Friday, including running back Jonathan Taylor, wide receiver Danny Davis, quarterback Jack Coan, cornerback Madison Cone and long snapper Adam Bay.

— Fumagalli wore No. 48 in honor of senior linebacker Jack Cichy, who will miss the year with a torn ACL. Fumagalli said it was just a one time thing, but that he really wanted to do it to show Cichy how much he meant to the team.

— Junior Zander Neuville’s first career catch turned into his first career touchdown, as he tightroped down the sideline for the 28-yard score early in the third quarter. But it wouldn’t have been possible without the extra effort of Danny Davis, who managed to block three different guys to help get the tight end into the end zone.

— Wisconsin trailed 10-0 in the first half. It was the first time the Badgers had trailed by double digits in a non-conference home game since 2012 against — you guessed it — Utah State. The Badgers won that game 16-14.

Inside the Numbers

15:19 — That’s how long it took for Wisconsin to go from down 10-0 to up 38-10.

87 — That’s the number of rushing yards for freshman Jonathan Taylor in his first career game. It included a pretty 41-yard run on the first play of the second half to jump start the offense.

99 — That was the length of Joe Ferguson’s interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the longest return in school history.

3 — That’s the number of touchdowns Alex Hornibrook threw on Friday night, a career high and 1/3 of what he threw all of last year.

478 — That’s the number of yards Wisconsin’s offense rolled up. It’s the third-highest total since Chryst took over as coach in 2015.

What’s Next

Wisconsin (1-0) will host Florida Atlantic next Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium. The Owls, in their first game under new coach Lane Kiffin, lost 42-19 to Navy on Friday.

Preview: (9) Wisconsin vs Utah State

THE BASICS

The teams: The No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers (0-0) vs the Utah State Aggies (0-0)

The time: 8 p.m. CDT, Friday

The place: Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, Wis.

The TV coverage: ESPN with Adam Amin and Dusty Dvoracek in the booth, and Molly McGrath on the sideline.

The last time: In 2012, Utah State’s Josh Thompson missed a 37-yard field goal with 6 seconds left, allowing Wisconsin to escape with a 16-14 victory over Gary Andersen and the Aggies.

The series: Tied 1-1

The line: Wisconsin -27.5

The Badgers injury report:

OUT

Game:

RB Taiwan Deal (leg)
WR Kendric Pryor (face)
WR George Rushing (leg)
FB Jake Whalen (head)

Season:

LB Jack Cichy (knee)
LB Zack Baun (foot)
RB Sam Brodner (knee)
LB Mason Stokke (leg)

THE BREAKDOWN: FIVE THINGS TO WATCH

1) The start

Wisconsin opens the 2017 season with high expectations. The Badgers are a consensus top-10 team for the first time since 2007 and nearly everyone is picking them to take home a third Big Ten West title in four years. And by all indications they are capable of fulfilling those expectations and more. On a team-wide basis, this fall camp, at least what the media got to see, was the most impressive since at least 2013. Will what we saw in practice show up when the lights come on? If it does, watch out.

2) Year No. 2 for Alex Hornibrook

Wisconsin’s offense has a number of very accomplished veterans, but it’ll go only as far as sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook takes it.

The good news is that he appears primed to lead it to new heights. After going 7-2 as a starter in 2016, Hornibrook set out to eliminate weaknesses in his game, spending his winter and spring break in California with quarterback guru George Whitfield, attending the invite-only Manning Passing Academy in June and leading player-only throwing sessions. The results, at least in fall camp, have been more than positive. His pocket presence is vastly improved and he has a little more zip on his passes, allowing him to fit throws into tighter spaces.

Fans will get to judge it for themselves on Friday, but the consensus among media members was Hornibrook took a big step from last fall.

3) The replacements

The Badgers lost a number of really talented players from their 2016 squad that are now fighting for jobs in the NFL, and many eyes will be on their replacements.

It starts at left tackle, where All-American Ryan Ramczyk left early for the draft and was a first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints. Wisconsin went with junior Michael Deiter as his replacement, and while he’s started 27 straight games, none of them have come at tackle. His ability to handle the edge is paramount for the offense.

In the backfield, Wisconsin lost more than 1,800 yards rushing from Corey Clement and Dare Ogunbowale. That void will be filled by at least three players and maybe more as junior Chris James, sophomore Bradrick Shaw and freshman Jonathan Taylor battle for carries.

On defense, outside linebacker Vince Biegel and T.J. Watt got drafted in April, but their fill-ins — seniors Garrett Dooley and Leon Jacobs — are more than capable of stepping up, especially Jacobs, who had a monster fall camp and has the makings of a dominant pass rusher.

And in the secondary, where cornerback Sojourn Shelton and safety Leo Musso needed to be replaced, the Badgers appear to have top-flight options in the form of transfer Nick Nelson at cornerback and wide receiver-turned-cornerback-turned safety in senior Natrell Jamerson.

4) Young guys on deck

Wisconsin isn’t known for playing a lot of true freshmen, but there are a number of them in the two-deep, including three at skill positions.

Jack Coan beat out redshirt freshman Kare Lyles for the backup quarterback job, Taylor’s performance in the final few weeks of fall camp has the coaching staff salivating over his potential and wide receiver Danny Davis has proven to be as good as his 4-star recruiting ranking suggests.

Taylor and Davis are almost guarantees to play, while it remains to be seen how coach Paul Chryst wants to use Coan in blowout situations.

5) Back in time

After two so-so years, the Wisconsin offensive line looks to be on the verge of returning to the dominating form it’s showed so often over the last 25 years. There aren’t any seniors, but nearly all the contributors are in their third or fourth years in the program, having gained the strength and experience necessary for success. Utah State’s defensive line might not be the greatest test, but it is the first and it’s one the line is ready to attack.

NUMBERS TO CONSIDER

Wisconsin has won 37 straight home games against non-conference teams, the second-longest streak in the country. The last loss came in 2003.

Friday will be the sixth time the Badgers have opened the season with a night game at home. They are 4-1 in those games, including a 51-17 whipping of UNLV in 2011.

Senior Troy Fumagalli needs 81 yards to move into fifth-place for career receiving yards among tight ends in Wisconsin history. If he puts up the same numbers he did a year ago — 580 yards — he would finish his career with the second-most yards for a tight end at UW.

PREDICTIONS

Zach Heilprin’s prediction: Wisconsin 41, Utah State 3 (0-0 on the season)
Ebo’s prediction: Wisconsin 44, Utah State 6 (0-0 on the season)
Joe Miller’s prediction: Wisconsin 42 , Utah State 7 (0-0 on the season)

Former Packers WR Greg Jennings says Brett Favre quit on the team in a 2007 game

Greg Jennings is at it again.

The former Green Bay Packers wide receiver, who has taken shots at quarterback Aaron Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy in the past, turned his attention to Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre when he was on FS1’s ‘Undisputed’ on Wednesday.

While discussing Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s decision to say it didn’t matter who played running back with Ezekiel Elliott’s looming six-game suspension, Jennings referred back to a 2007 game against the Cowboys when Favre got knocked out early, allowing Rodgers a chance to show he could play at a high level. Jennings said, like Prescott, he gave words of encouragement to Rodgers while likely thinking he’d rather have Favre behind center. That’s when he veered off course.

“I’m going to be honest right now. I thought Brett quit on us,” Jennings said of Favre, who injured his elbow in the second quarter. “He [had] told me to shoot up [with painkillers] before. I’m (in my second year) now, so I didn’t say it, I’m thinking, ‘Man, just shoot up. Do something.’”

The 2007 season, which ended up being Favre’s last in Green Bay, came 11 years after he entered a drug rehab facility due to an addiction to pain killers.

As for Jennings, it could be argued that the three men he’s trained his focus on – Rodgers, McCarthy and Favre – were largely responsible for helping him the reach the heights he did.

In seven seasons playing with the Packers, he averaged 61 catches, 933 yards and eight touchdowns per year. In the other three seasons he played – two with Minnesota and one in Miami – Jennings averaged 48 catches, 585 yards and four touchdowns.