One more game

Recovered from the concussion that knocked him out of the regular season finale, Jim Sorgi is set for his final game in the Cardinal and White

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After missing all or part of three previous games, Jim Sorgi returned to the Badgers' lineup for the Minnesota game Nov. 3 in a new groove.


"No matter what happens this weekend, good or bad or for the rest of the games, you are going to see a different ballplayer out there," Sorgi said the week before the game. "I'm going to have fun. I'm going to go out there and play football and have fun. I mean I only have four more games with the Red and White on so I might as well."


Sorgi, his career winding down, was determined to go out strong and for the first two games of his closing stretch he had about as much fun as a quarterback can possibly enjoy. Sorgi completed 23 of 34 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns against the Gophers, although Wisconsin fell 37-34, moving to 6-4 at the time.


Sorgi's hot hand continued the following week as he completed 16 of 24 passes for 380 yards and five touchdown passes, all to Lee Evans, in a 56-21 win over Michigan State.


Sorgi and the Badgers' offense were on cruise control. Wisconsin racked up 1,054 yards and 12 touchdowns against Minnesota and Michigan State. In the regular season finale against Iowa, the Badgers scored two touchdowns in the first quarter with Sorgi at the helm, pulling out to a 14-7 lead. Sorgi, though, suffered a concussion early in the second quarter and did not return.


He made every effort to get back in the game, warming up on the sideline in an attempt to show that he was ready. The team's doctors and trainers, though, had given the final word.


"Once you suffer a concussion like that you are not going back in the football game no matter how much you want to," quarterbacks coach Jeff Horton said. "A guy's health and future life is much more important than trying to win the football game there. If the doctor says he's done, he's done, no matter what the kid may want to do."


So Sorgi stayed on the sideline and watched as the Badgers' offense sputtered. Iowa came from behind and pulled ahead. John Stocco replaced Matt Schabert in the fourth quarter and played well, but could not bring Wisconsin all the way back, his desperation throw from the Hawkeye four falling incomplete.


Sorgi has returned from the concussion and has looked crisp in preparation for his final collegiate game, against Auburn in the Music City Bowl Dec. 31.


"I don't know if any concussion is ever minor but he seems to be back on an even keel," Horton said.


Despite missing significant playing time due to injury, Sorgi has thrown for 2,082 yards and 16 touchdowns and owns a 149.9 passer rating, one of the most prolific seasons any Badger signal caller has ever amassed statistically. He is currently the highest rated passer (141.7) in school history and his leadership has been a driving force for Wisconsin's offense this season.


"He knows how to fire us up as the leader of this offense throughout the season and he's made a lot of plays doing so," Evans said. "It's his final go round and we all know he's excited, fired up to be out there, as much as I am and as much as the rest of the seniors are. … He brings his own demeanor, his own fire to the game that helps everybody else out."


If Sorgi misses any portion of Wednesday's game, Stocco will be the first reserve to see action. After completing 5 of 9 passes for 84 yards against Iowa, the redshirt freshman was given an opportunity to compete for the No. 2 role with Schabert during bowl practices and won the job.

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