Notes: Scary Day for Gilreath

As of Wisconsin's offense was having enough trouble, the Badgers had to endure a scary 15 minutes when senior wide receiver David Girleath suffered a severe concussion and had to leave the field in an ambulance.

MADISON - It terms of scary moments in the course of a football game, there was nothing worse than the moment David Gilreath experienced early in the second half of Saturday's home opener.

The senior wide receiver momentarily lost consciousness after sustaining a blow from two San Jose State players while returning a punt, and required an ambulance to remove him from field, putting a cloud over No.11 UW 27-14 victory.

Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema told reporters Gilreath, who was released from the hospital this afternoon, sustained a concussion.

Spartans junior Peyton Thompson first hit Gilreath low on his right side before senior Dominique Hunsucker delivered a high blow on his left side that knocked Gilreath out of the game.

"Thoughts and prayers to him and his family," junior running back John Clay said. "He's a great teammate, a great guy on and off the field. I'm just wishing the best for him. I know he's going to pull through."

Bielema told reporters Gilreath was talking and moving around after regaining consciousness, but the medical staff treating him encouraged him to remain on the ground.

Gilreath finished the game without a catch, but had a 16-yard run late in the first quarter. He also returned two punts for a total of five yards and one kickoff for 19 yards.

Freshmen James White and Jared Abbrederis relieved Gilreath in his kick return and punt return duties, respectively.

"Head injuries and stuff like that, you never know," said senior safety Jay Valai, who missed time in fall camp himself with a concussion. "Football is a physical game, so I just pray that he's able to move his limbs and stuff like that.

Taylor sees limited action in return

Mike Taylor is finally back on the field.

After missing the final six games a year ago with an ACL tear and last week's season opener at UNLV while recovering from knee surgery, the sophomore outside linebacker returned today to limited action.

Bielema removed Taylor from the game following the first series of the second half once he reached his work load limit. The coaching staff told Taylor, who assisted on a pair of tackles, prior to the game he would be removed once he reached 30 reps.

"We had a little bit of a pitch count (on Taylor)," Bielema said. "(Defensive coordinator) Dave (Doeren) and Mike had discussed that. We discussed it with the trainers. I believe he had 24 reps at halftime. We thought we would get him around 30 (reps), so he played that first series and wanted to get him out of it."

Taylor, who led the team with 46 tackles in 2009 before suffering a season-ending knee injury, admitted he was hesitant early in his return.

"I would say I played a little bit tentative the first few plays, but after that as the game went on, I got a little more confidence, felt better and better," Taylor said. "It's kind of like my rehab game, just to see how it feels. Hopefully, over these next few days, (my knee) can get stronger and better."

Toon, Borland sit out

Junior wide receiver Nick Toon (turf toe) and sophomore linebacker Chris Borland (shoulder) each sat out today's game. Bielema expects both to return to practice next week.

Toon didn't suit up, but Borland participated in pregame workouts. Despite the fact Bielema ruled Borland out, he and the coaching staff had to take extra measures to make sure Borland didn't sneak into the game.

"We had specific orders to take his helmet because he's a guy I could see running out there if we gave him the chance," Bielema said.

Abbrederis seizes opportunity

With Toon ruled out of today's game, Abbrederis knew he had a golden opportunity to shine playing in his first home opener.

And while the wideout didn't make much noise at UNLV last week, Abbrederis got noticed this week – in a big way.

The redshirt freshman hauled in a team-high five catches – three coming on Wisconsin's final drive of the first half that resulted in a field goal – for 58 yards and let everyone in Camp Randall Stadium know what kind of player he can be.

"I just had to get my mind right so I could come out here and perform," said Abbrederis, who worked as a quarterback on the Badgers scout team in 2009 before being converted to wide receiver.

"I expected to get some passes. Last week, I didn't really get any, but that was my first game, so coach kind of wanted to ease me in. I knew I would get some today, and I just had to capitalize on my opportunities."

Bielema expects Abbrederis to continue to grow and contribute this season.

"I thought he really did a nice job securing some catches today," Bielema said. "The quarterbacks I know have confidence he's going to be where he's supposed to be and fortunately for us, that kept some of our drives alive."

White learns from mistake

White admitted his eyes widened when he got his chance for his first collegiate touchdown.

As he turned the corner on a run during Wisconsin's second drive of the game, White forget about something the coaches had stressed to him all throughout fall camp: Ball security.

Rather than protecting the football all the way past the goal line, White tried to stretch the ball into the end zone, and it was knocked away by Spartans freshman Bene Benwikere for a touchback.

"(Offensive coordinator Paul) Chryst tells me all the time (to not reach for the end zone)," said White, who finished with six carries for 25 yards. "As soon as I tried to reach it out, (Benwikere) popped it out right behind me." Bielema hopes White, a true freshman, learns from his mistake.

"James White wants that touchdown as bad as anybody, but here at Wisconsin, we run the ball into the end zone. We don't reach it in," Bielema said. "It's something that he'll take forward and I know be good hopefully in the future."

Appleton could return

Former wide receiver Kraig Appleton (6-foot-3 200 pounds) could potentially make a return to the University of Wisconsin. Appleton's Facebook page is what set off the speculation.

"Thank GOD im WISCONSIN BOUND!!! Pray 2 the Heavens above if u ever n doubt it works!!!," Appleton wrote. No official release has been made.

A highly regarded recruit coming out of East St. Louis (Ill) High school, Appleton was released from his scholarship after his freshman season due to off the field issues.

In 2009, Appleton finished the season with three receptions for 26 yards.

Extra points: Junior offensive tackle Josh Oglesby left the game in the third quarter with a knee injury, but Bielema said the injury "didn't appear to be anything significant" ... sophomore defensive lineman David Gilbert suffered a concussion during the second kickoff coverage, according to Bielema ... junior defensive back Devin Smith left the game briefly after hurting his knee, but he returned later ... Wisconsin extended its regular-season wining streak over non-conference opponents to 26 games.

Badger Nation Top Stories