Schabert to start against Northwestern

Wisconsin quarterback Jim Sorgi had surgery Saturday and will miss this week's game, but is expected to return to action following the Badgers' bye week

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Wisconsin quarterback Jim Sorgi will miss the Badgers upcoming game against Northwestern this week, but is expected to return to action following Wisconsin's bye week.


Jim Sorgi

"Jim had surgery yesterday and we were really going to do it after this game anyhow," Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said. "We think he will be back for the last three games."


Following Wisconsin's bye week, the Badgers play at Minnesota, Nov. 8 before closing the season with home games against Michigan State and Iowa.


With Sorgi out this week, Matt Schabert will start and John Stocco becomes the No. 2 quarterback. Tight end/receiver Owen Daniels, who began his UW career as a quarterback, will receive some reps at the position this week and could be used in an emergency.


Sorgi was injured about six minutes into the second half of Wisconsin's 26-23 loss to Purdue Saturday. Alvarez also said after that game that Sorgi's knee had been bothering him prior to the injury, a sentiment that was reiterated Monday.


Sorgi took a number of hard shots Saturday, including a big hit from Purdue defensive tackle Craig Terrill after Sorgi delivered a 19-yard pass to Lee Evans. The following play, Wisconsin ran an option-trap play, and Sorgi kept the ball and ran to his left. At the tail end of that play he appeared to hesitate and was taken to the ground awkwardly.


"Jim's biggest mistake was I think he squatted," Alvarez said. "And I thought he did a couple times when he pulled the ball down, instead of running with the ball and being decisive. If you are going to pull it down, run, don't sit there and squat and take shots. He made his decision to make four or five yards; he should have gone in there hard or slid. But he went in there and kind of stopped and that allowed them to put him in an unusual position where they slammed him pretty good and he had his leg caught in there. But you can't play cautious like that."


Schabert has played in seven games this season and received significant playing time in Wisconsin's last two games, replacing Sorgi after injuries. He has completed nine of 18 passes for 199 yards and one touchdown this season.


Alvarez said that where Schabert usually receives about 30 percent of the practice repetitions, he will take about 70 percent this week.


Wisconsin is left with unknown commodities backing up Schabert. Stocco, a redshirt freshman, has yet to see the field this season. He threw for 1,500 yards and 12 touchdowns as a high school senior two years ago.


"John hasn't had a lot of reps," Alvarez said. "I'll be honest with you. I could sit up here and say he's gotten a lot better and I'd be lying to you. The third quarterback just doesn't get many reps. It is not tryouts every week. It is not spring practice or fall camp where he could maybe get more reps."


Daniels, a prolific high school quarterback who has made a good transition to a combination tight end/wide receiver position, will serve as the emergency quarterback.


"We won't take the redshirt off of Tyler (Donovan)," Alvarez said. "We will have some things ready for (Daniels), it should be an easy transition, we'll give him part of the passing game."

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