No Longer a Madison Secret

Luke Swan sets career highs in yards, receptions and touchdowns to help the Badgers win their season opener over Washington State.

MADISON - When he came to Wisconsin in 2003, Luke Swan was just hoping to be a walk-on athlete to the Badger football team.

Four years later, Swan is Wisconsin's most prized possession.

The fifth-year senior registered career highs in catches (5), yards (170) and touchdowns (2) in Wisconsin's season-opening win against Washington State and continuing a fairytale-type college career.

"I really had no idea," Swan said. "Coming in here as a freshman, I just wanted to play football, get on the field in some way. It's been a fun ride and I am really enjoying it."

What made his day the most impressive was that none of Swan's catches were cheapies – including catching a tipped pass on an important third down conversion. Receiving some vicious hits over the middle and in the flat, the 6-1, 190 pound Swan kept on clicking and kept bouncing up, proving that wide receivers don't have to be big and beefy to absorb some punishment.

"That is the toughness that this program installs in its players," Swan said. "Coach B is always yelling at players to get up and not to show weakness. Toughness on the field is what this program is built on and it's a great mentality to have."

Swan's first touchdown was Wisconsin's first score of the year, as he gained separation in the back of the end zone to collect a five-yard pass from senior quarterback Tyler Donovan to tie the score. With time winding down in the first half, Donovan and Swan connected again – this time for a big momentum swing.

Getting the ball back with 45 seconds left in the half, Donovan connected with Swan, who had raced right past the inexperienced Washington State secondary, for a 38-yard touchdown.

"The defense did a great job of getting us the ball with a little time left," Swan commented. "We took advantage of their Cover Two and Coach Chryst made the right play call in that situation because [their secondary] couldn't really guard it."

"He's a smart, intelligent football player," Bielema added of Swan. "To get that score right before the half was huge."

In only their third start together, Donovan and Swan have connected for four touchdown passes. Since both coming to Wisconsin in the fall of 2003, the fifth-year senior duo has had plenty of time to develop a connection with the spotlight not shining on them.

"Tyler and I have a great comfort level," Swan said. "We came in together and have been throwing balls together for five years and have been throwing a lot to each other over the summer. He threw a lot of great balls and Coach Chryst had a lot of great play calls for him and I to be successful."

A year after bursting out onto the scene, Swan joined an elite company on Saturday. In the program's history, Swan's 170 receiving yards ties Badger great Pat Richter for 11th all-time in receiving yards for a single game. On a list that includes such great wide outs as Lee Evans, Al Toon and Chris Chambers, Swan is quickly becoming a household name; a title that the senior isn't all that comfortable with. More concerned about the team than himself, Swan brings his lunch pail everyday to practice and to games, doing whatever he needs to do to get Wisconsin a victory.

"The most important thing is that we got the W," Swan said. "We're going to move forward, learn from our mistakes and get to work tomorrow on UNLV."

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