After leaving early against Rutgers last Saturday, junior running back Chez Mellusi is out for the remainder of the season. Coach Paul Chryst announced that Mellusi would miss the rest of the season.
Mellusi, a transfer from Clemson, was Wisconsin’s number one running back to start the season. Along with Mellusi, the Badgers are now without their top three running backs following fall camp. Junior Isaac Guerendo is out for the season with a leg injury while redshirt freshman Jalen Berger was released from the program.
Mellusi finishes the season with 815 rushing yards and five touchdowns, along with 12 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown.
What this means for the Badgers
With a void in the running back room once again, Wisconsin now turns to freshman Braelon Allen as their featured back. No one has been as impressive as Allen of late. The freshman back has had five consecutive games over 100 yards rushing and sits currently with 668 on the year. Along with six touchdowns, Allen is averaging over 7 yards a carry and has been named Big Ten Freshman of the week twice this season.
Even though Allen will be the featured back, the Badgers will need to turn to others on the roster. Sophomore Julius Davis came in last week and filled in nicely as the second back. The Menominee Falls native averaged 4.7 yards per carry and finished with 32 yards. Although plagued with injuries early in his career, Davis now gets an opportunity to showcase his talent.
Along with Davis, a few other Badgers could help fill the role at running back as well. Junior Brady Schipper has had carries in five different games this season and helped balance Wisconsin’s run game. True freshman Jackson Acker made his first trip last week against Rutgers. The Verona native had three carries, one of which he broke for a 22 yard touchdown. Following Acker you have freshman walk on Grover Bortolotti, who finished with 48 yards on five carries against Rutgers as well.
After winning five consecutive games, the Badgers now sit 6-3 on the season and tied for first in the division. They also control their own destiny with a chance to make it to the Big Ten championship. It will be incredibly challenging to replace Mellusi. However when other backs have been out, others stepped up in big ways. Lets hope that continues for the rest of the season.