With the departure of Wisconsin’s quarterback Alex Hornibrook, a new leader has emerged early in the 2019-20’ season, and surprisingly it is not star running back Jonathan Taylor.
After much anticipation over who would fill the vacant starting spot Hornibrook left behind, junior quarterback Jack Coan proved his worth after a long, competitive training camp and was awarded the starting position. Despite having only played in a handful of games last season, Coan has already made a significant impression in the few games thus far.
Coan beat out true freshman Graham Mertz and redshirt freshman Chase Wolf in spring practices, and hasn’t looked back since.
In Wisconsin’s home opener on the road against South Florida, Coan threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns in the Badger’s 49-0 win. In the next week at Camp Randall, the Badgers took down Central Michigan in another shutout victory where Coan had a huge performance with 363 yards and three touchdowns, recording the fifth highest passing yardage total in Wisconsin football history.
However, this week the competition for the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers picks up as it faces the No. 10 Michigan Wolverines at home after a bye. Unlike Wisconsin, Michigan’s last victory was not met with the same ease. They barely escaped with a 24-21 double overtime win, after Army kicker Cole Talley just missed a field goal at the end of regulation that would have given Army the win
Senior quarterback for the Wolverines Shea Patterson produced decent yardage with 19 of 29 with a total of 207 yards with no touchdowns. On the bright side for the Wolverines, Patterson threw a combined 16 interceptions in his sophomore and junior seasons, but has yet to throw one this season.
Looking at the matchup between these two Big Ten teams, Coan’s passing performance will be a key component for the Badgers in a win over Michigan. In each game of the season so far, Coan has shown new components in his game that weren’t there last season.
Of course, much of Coan’s recent success must also be attributed to Taylor and the return of junior wide receiver Quintez Cephus, both of whom have been able to convert Coan’s passes into yards and touchdowns.
But, there are still plenty of games left to be played this season, and all eyes will be on Coan to see if he can continue his recent success, or if he puts up more mediocre numbers for the rest of the year.
Michigan is a key game for Coan to prove that he’s more than a game manager, and that his stats so far this season isn’t a fluke.