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Graham Mertz in Ann Arbor, expected to be available as Badgers' QB
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Graham Mertz in Ann Arbor, expected to be available as Badgers' QB

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Breathe easy, Badgers fans — Graham Mertz is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with the University of Wisconsin football team.

Mertz was on the field and looks to be available to be under center for No. 13 UW (1-0) as it takes on the Wolverines (1-2) in a highly anticipated Big Ten Conference matchup.

Graham Mertz mug

Mertz

Mertz, a redshirt freshman, was one of the 30 people within the program to contract COVID-19 since Oct. 21. Per Big Ten Conference protocols, Mertz wasn’t able to practice until Thursday as he progressed through a mandated 21-day absence from game action. He was able to show enough in those two sessions and during meetings during the team’s hiatus that he was ready to play and make the travel roster.

In the season opener against Illinois, his first college start, Mertz was nearly perfect. He tied a program record with five touchdown passes and by completing his first 17 passes, and set the school record for completion percentage after completing 20 of 21 attempts (95.24%).

UW coach Paul Chryst said on his 1310 WIBA radio show on Thursday that he was hopeful that Mertz would be able to play, but also said throughout the week that it would depend how much practice time Mertz got and how he looked in those practices.

Danny Vanden Boom mug

Vanden Boom

Redshirt junior Danny Vanden Boom was ready to play as well. Senior Jack Coan was also on the field pregame warming up. He is recovering from a preseason foot surgery. Walk-on freshman Daniel Wright was also with the group warming up.

Michigan has struggled mightily against the pass this season, allowing more than 320 yards and three touchdowns through the air each of the past two games.


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