MADISON, Wis. – After a promising start for Wisconsin running back Taiwan Deal, beginning the first drive with seven carries for 34 yards, Deal had to leave the game with a left leg injury. Starting tight end Troy Fumagalli also had to leave the game after the first offensive drive with a left leg injury after laying out for an 11-yard catch.
Deal was starting in place of an injured Corey Clement, who came into Saturday as questionable after conflicting reports on his health during the week leading up to game day. With Deal’s injury, the only running backs left for Wisconsin was senior captain Dare Ogunbowale and redshirt freshman Bradrick Shaw.
Shaw showed flashes and bursts but did have a costly mistake on his one fumble. Wisconsin was on the one yard line looking for it’s first touchdown of the game, but Shaw fumbled it and Georgia State recovered.
Ogunbowale, normally a passing down back, failed to get anything going as he struggled to get past the front line on most of his runs.
Replacing Fumagalli, redshirt freshman Kyle Penniston got some work, but also had two straight dropped passes that killed an offensive drive for Wisconsin. Later in the game though, Penniston would score the touchdown that ultimately put Wisconsin ahead.
“I think I had a lot of jitters coming into the first half,” Penniston said on his first half of play.
Penniston credited his better second half performance to his teammates and the advice he got from Fumagalli and others.
“Kyle came in and had a couple plays he didn’t like but finished with some nice plays,” head coach Paul Chryst said.
Wisconsin’s offense struggled to get going after Deal and Fumagalli left which should concern the coaching staff moving forward if the two are not able to go for next week’s Big Ten matchup with Michigan State.
Chryst said after the game that he was unsure about the status of his two injured players, as well as Clement. With Clement hopefully back next week and Chryst liking the improvement of Penniston, Wisconsin will look to improve on their way to East Lansing.