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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Chris Orr has been a monster for the Badgers, leading the defense on and off the field.

Orr named one of Big Ten Defensive Players of the Week after carrying defense against Wildcats in sloppy game

Donning minimalist red jerseys and brown pants on Saturday against Northwestern, the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers (4-0 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) beat the Northwestern Wildcats (1-3 overall, 0-2 Big Ten) in their late-19th century throwback threads. 

Thanks to the continued dominance of Wisconsin’s defense as a whole, the Badgers won, but linebacker Chris Orr was a star. The Wildcats struggled running the ball mightily, averaging just 2.4 yards-per-carry, large in part to Orr’s nine total tackles, five of which were solo. 

The sophomore also tallied two sacks and three tackles for a loss. 

Though, no play proved more pivotal than Orr’s forced fumble. With eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Northwestern had just narrowed the deficit to two possessions and recovered an onside kick. 

Before the snap, Orr inched forward from his middle linebacker position and blitzed from the strong side. Unaware of the pressure, Northwestern backup quarterback Aiden Smith absorbed Orr, and promptly coughed the ball up. 

Quickly, any hopes of a comeback were extinguished. 

Beginning his career at the University of Wisconsin in 2015, Orr — a three-star recruit — made an instant impact as a true freshman. In only his third game of the 2015 season, Orr abused Troy’s offense, lighting up the box score with nine solo tackles out of 11 total, with a pass deflection to boot. 

2016 was a lost season for Orr, who tore his ACL early in Week 1. 

Against Nebraska in 2017, Orr spoiled quarterback Tanner Lee’s opening drive with a 78 yard interception returned for a touchdown in dominant fashion. 

Last season in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Orr recorded eight total tackles and picked off the Miami Hurricanes’ quarterback Malik Rosier, leading the way for the Badgers’ bowl victory. 

In 2019, winning just any bowl game would be a disappointment for the Badgers, who currently sit at No.8 in the AP rankings. Granted, the road to Glendale for said playoff’s semifinal round will be a challenging one, with the Badgers taking on the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes later in the year. 

Until their October trip to Columbus, however, the Badgers must take care of inferior teams on their schedule like Northwestern. Saturday’s game may not have gone as smoothly as expected, but the Badgers faced true adversity for the first time and responded admirably. 

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In a gridlocked defensive showdown like the Northwestern game, one clutch play can make all the difference. Orr made not one, but several plays, and was key in helping Wisconsin stay unbeaten.

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