With no catches, no yards and not having a catchable pass thrown in his general vicinity, Lance Kendricks, UW's No.2 tight end, found himself in an unfamiliar situation, especially since the junior from Milwaukee was such a noticeable contributor in the non-conference slate last season.
It took awhile, but the wait was well worth it for Kendricks, who caught a career-high six passes for 70 yards and his first-career touchdown to lead Wisconsin to a 44-14 blowout victory over Wofford Saturday.
"I was just going out there and playing, but the first catch really relaxed me," Kendricks said. "I feel a lot better though, especially since I got the (touchdown) monkey off my back."
Filling in for then-senior Travis Beckum at the start of last season, Kendricks, who was highly-recruited wide receiver out of Rufus King High, caught four passes for 104 yards in his first two games, showing that he was another solid tight end option off the bench.
But combined with a healthy Beckum and Garrett Graham in the lineup and Kendricks breaking his leg against Michigan State, the rest of his season failed to live up to the level of expectations he created for himself in early parts of the season.
"It was a long process of recovery," Kendricks said. "I really worked hard, especially, in the weight room, and rehabilitating. We definitely have a lot of options (now) on offense."
Although eight different players had caught passes before Kendricks got on the board, the tight end hadn't gone unnoticed. In UW's double-overtime win last week over Fresno State, Kendricks made key blocks on UW's kickoff unit that allowed David Gilreath to earn some big returns, including one that jump started UW's offense.
This week, Kendricks was more than pleased being able to jump start the offense, as his touchdown was the first of six scored by Wisconsin against Wofford.
"We've been waiting for that breakout game from Lance," Bielema said. "I always thought he was kind of a special kid and now, we're beginning to see that stuff take forward."
Megna Gets Back to Business
Wisconsin sophomore Tony Megna had done so much for himself after spring football to prepare for the upcoming season that he thought his headaches were side affects for him working so hard.
But when his headaches caused him to go faint, dizzy and is on the verge of passing out after a few minutes, Megna knew that there was a serious problem.
Megna, a two-time UW defensive scout team player of the week from Oak Creek, left camp as the starting linebacker in UW's dime package and the second-string weak-side linebacker on the depth chart, but had to leave the team over the summer in hopes of finding a doctor that could diagnose his problems. After seven of tests, Megna found his answer; he suffered from Lyme's Disease.
"Doctors put me on antibiotics for a year and I am still dealing with headaches and constant headaches throughout the day," Megna said. "But pain is a state of mind, and I have tried to battle through it."
Although he wasn't on the 105-man roster during fall camp, Megna was given an open invitation from Bielema to return when he gets back to full strength. He returned two weeks ago and was back on the special teams units today, even assisting on a tackle in the first quarter.
"It's a confidence booster that the head coach has the confidence in me," Megna said. "It's great to be running around the team again."
Extra Points: UW's 28 points in the second quarter were the most points in a quarter since the Badgers scored 34 points in the second quarter vs. Temple on Sept. 10, 2005 … Junior linebacker Culmer St. Jean recorded a career-high in tackles, leading the team with 15 stops … Freshman quarterback Curt Phillips became the first UW quarterback to lead the Badgers in rushing since Brooks Bollinger ran for 127 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown against Minnesota on Nov. 4, 2000.