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Ingold-New Mexico hurdle

Wisconsin's Alec Ingold tries to jump over New Mexico's Jalin Burrell during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

One of University of Wisconsin left tackle Cole Van Lanen's favorite football memories from his time at Bay Port High School came on the first drive of his junior season against De Pere. Van Lanen pulled as a lead blocker for then-senior quarterback Alec Ingold, who hurdled a defender at the 5-yard line on his way to the end zone.

Ingold attempted a similar hurdle during his 39-yard run against New Mexico on Saturday for the Badgers, and Van Lanen knew why this time his longtime teammate wasn't quite as successful.

"He gained a little bit of weight," Van Lanen said. "If he didn't gain that 20 or 30 pounds, I think he would have been perfectly fine."

Ingold came to UW as an inside linebacker, enjoyed a promising stint at running back as a true freshman in 2015 and spent the last two seasons sharing fullback duties with Austin Ramesh.

With Ramesh now gone, the 246-pound senior fullback's taking advantage of his first opportunity in a full-time starting role.

Despite the notoriety he received from Saturday's performance against the Lobos - which included a fourth-and-2 conversion and 1-yard touchdown run along with his 39-yard scamper - Ingold's contributions with the ball in his hands aren't the most impressive takeaways from his first two games of this season.

"Honestly, first game I felt like I played a lot better than the second game, just play after play, down after down being able to open up holes for (Jonathan Taylor)," Ingold said. "I think the game plan was a little different. I got the ball and could help the offense in different ways. I think that's the biggest part about stepping into this new role is finding every week how I can add to the offense a little bit, and it'll probably be different every week. I've just got to be ready for it."

Ingold said he prides himself on his versatility, on being able to put whatever his coaches need on the field and "make it come to life."

The former high school wrestler's time as an inside linebacker became short-lived when those coaches needed him to fill a role on the other side of the ball early in the 2015 season - after starting running back Corey Clement missed extended time with a sports hernia.

A few weeks prior to his position change, Ingold said he found a red jersey in his locker - the color offensive players wear during practice. He wore the jersey anyway as teammates teased him about switching to fullback.

"I thought it was a joke," Ingold said. "Then literally like the next week I was on offense. Maybe it was spoken into existence. I don't know."

He carried the ball seven times for 60 yards in his first action against Hawaii and went on to play in 10 games with six rushing touchdowns. The long-term plan throughout that season was for Ingold to eventually move to fullback, where he's made a home over the past three years.

Ingold played 47 snaps over UW's first two games after seeing just 108 in 2017. While Ingold complemented Ramesh well last season, he appears to be taking his game to another level after Ramesh's departure.

"I said this to him after Week 1 - if this is your starting point, that's really good," UW coach Paul Chryst said. "And if the two games we've played are the starting point for this year, then I think it's a good start. ... I think he's playing exactly how you'd want your seniors to be playing. I think there's an urgency to it, and I think there's a confidence to the way he's playing. I think he's putting it all out there."

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Jason Galloway is the Wisconsin Badgers football beat writer for the Wisconsin State Journal.