The awards for the week are in, and the Wisconsin Badgers locked in one weekly honor for the Big Ten, and it was at the quarterback position. Braedyn Locke made his first collegiate start and his first for the Badgers after Tanner Mordecai went down with a hand injury. The redshirt freshman QB impressed enough that the Big Ten awarded him the Freshman Player of the Week.
🏈#B1GFootball WEEKLY AWARDS🏈
🔵Co-Off:@UMichFootball‘s J.J. McCarthy
🔵Co-Off:@OhioStateFB‘s Marvin Harrison Jr.
🔵Defensive:@GopherFootball’s Tyler Nubin
🔵Special Teams:@GopherFootball‘s Dragan Kesich
🔵Freshman:@BadgerFootball‘s Braedyn Locke
— Big Ten Football (@B1Gfootball) October 23, 2023
A Comeback Performance for the Wisconsin Badgers
After struggling in the first half, the Wisconsin Badgers were able to take advantage in their comeback win against Illinois on Saturday. They were led by Braedyn Locke under center, making his first start at quarterback and likely not his last.
Locke went 21 for 41 for a completion percentage of 51%. He was able to drop 240 yards through the air on Illinois with two touchdowns. Locke settled down and was able to execute when it mattered most – during their 4th quarter comeback.
It was just one game, but I thought Braedyn Locke showed tremendous poise, kept his eyes downfield & worked through his progressions, and showed a strong command of the Badgers offense against Illinois.
Hard not to be impressed.
— Dillon Graff (@DillonGraff) October 22, 2023
The Badgers entered the fourth quarter down 21-7, and Locke was able to execute three straight scoring drives to close out the game. This included the pass to offensive lineman Nolan Rucci with 27 seconds remaining that sealed the deal for the Badgers over Illinois.
An absolute beauty pic.twitter.com/r2MQW08QoW
— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) October 22, 2023
The rookie QB showed he might belong at the helm and even joined some impressive names after his 240-yard game. Those 240 yards through the air were 5th most all-time for the Wisconsin Badgers for a QB’s first start, with names like Graham Mertz, Russell Wilson, Scott Tolzien, and Jim Sorgi ahead of him on the list.
Locke is the first Freshman to capture the award since Braelon Allen in 2021 and the first quarterback since Graham Mertz in 2020.
Braedyn Locke will get to show what he is made of for the Badgers under a new era of offense that Luke Fickell and Phil Longo are ushering into Madison. Their next test is against Ohio State this Saturday.