A week after not getting into the end zone in a loss to Iowa, Wisconsin could be without its top receiver in another division showdown against Nebraska.
Badgers wideout Alex Erickson is still going through concussion protocol, according to head coach Paul Chryst, after a hit in Saturday’s 10-6 loss to the Hawkeyes.
“He is in the concussion protocol," Chryst said Monday. "Talking to him yesterday, he feels better, so we'll find out. But that's — that's exactly it.”
The loss of Erickson would be an important one considering how the Wisconsin offense struggled vs. Iowa. Quarterback Joel Stave turned the ball over four times, fumbling twice and throwing a pair of interceptions. Stave still threw for 234 yards, but none of those yards resulted in touchdowns.
Erickson caught three passes for 30 yards before leaving with the injury. He’s the team’s leading receiver with 26 catches for 350 yards and a touchdown on the season.
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Tight end Austin Traylor was also knocked out of Saturday's game, and Chryst said he won't play against Nebraska. Traylor has 10 catches on the season, three of which have gone for touchdowns.
"The thing that is disappointing to me is that Austin was really playing good football, I think his best," Chryst said, "and Joel actually mentioned it to me the other day, how he's having fun. He'll be out this week, and we'll find out how much more, if any, but those are opportunities you don't get back."
It would certainly be nice to have a full arsenal in the passing game when going up against the Huskers, who have struggled to defend the pass this season. They yielded four straight games of at least 300 passing yards to opponents before Saturday’s loss at Illinois. And despite the Illini staying under the 300-yard mark, a huge 50-yard pass play at game’s end set up a game-winning touchdown pass with 10 seconds left. Illinois receivers also dropped six passes in that game, which could have meant a fifth straight 300-plus-yard game for the Nebraska pass defense, which still ranks as the Big Ten’s worst.