MADISON, Wisconsin – Wisconsin’s offense typically leans on the ground game, but the Badgers aired it out more often than usual during their nonconference matchup with Washington State.
Wisconsin began to find holes in the passing game after the Cougars’ secondary lost its top cornerback to injury midway through the second quarter of Saturday’s game at Camp Randall Stadium.
Senior Derrick Langford Jr. exited the WSU lineup with about eight minutes remaining in the first half. He could be seen walking gingerly around the sideline and speaking with trainers, then he disappeared from the sideline and didn’t immediately return to the field after halftime. Langford emerged from the locker room later in the third quarter with a walking boot on his left foot.
Cougar reserves Cam Lampkin and Chris Jackson were thrust into action, and Badgers’ quarterback Graham Mertz took advantage of mismatches between his starting receivers and WSU’s backups.
Mertz doesn’t usually throw more than 25 passes in a game, but he tossed 22 in the first half on Saturday, completing 13 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns – both to tight end Clay Cundiff, who was covered by Lampkin – with no turnovers. Mertz connected with his No. 1 target, Chimera Dike, on four attempts for 31 yards before the break.
Langford is a preseason All-Pac-12 honorable mention pick who held down a starting CB role throughout the 2021 season on the other side of Jaylen Watson, an all-conference selection who was taken in the seventh round of the NFL draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. With Watson out the door, Langford’s role expanded this offseason. He entered the campaign as WSU’s No. 1 coverage corner who will be expected to lock up opponents’ best receivers.
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