MADISON, Wis. – After a game where momentum shifted sporadically versus a weaker Big Ten opponent, Wisconsin football felt it had learned plenty about their identity. Jonathan Taylor has proven to be a consistently high performer and will be the center of the offense. Alex Hornibrook is still a threat in the pass game, so Taylor isn’t the only focus. And the receiving corps is deep both in their talent and their faith in one another.
The Wisconsin receivers have not shied away from emphasizing their faith in one another. It feels almost like Hornibrook can throw the same ball to everyone, and all are capable of making the play.
“That’s big for us, we’ve got a lot of guys that can make plays, that’s gonna help a quarterback out a bunch. To be able to move the ball in big chunks with people making plays for you is always good,” Hornibrook said postgame.
Perhaps a surprisingly consistent contributor is WR Danny Davis. Davis, a true freshman from Springfield, Ohio, has solidified himself as a dangerous playmaker. After recording no receptions Week 1 versus Utah State, Davis proved to be a spark plug Week 2 versus FAU, hauling in a huge 35-yard reception that would jump-start the Wisconsin offense. Later, in Week 3, he’d record a career high 67 yards receiving, all on two receptions. Big plays are all he seems to make.
This week, Davis put the entire offense on his back late in the third. After a 32-yard completion in which he shook both Northwestern defenders out of their boots after making the catch, Hornibrook would again find Davis in the back of the end zone for a lead-stretching TD to put Wisconsin up 11.
To the average football fan, scoring a touchdown appears the most exhilarating and ego-fueling moment of a game, and most of the time, it is. But Davis approaches the game differently. After his first career score, a moment brimming with individual accomplishment, Davis was measured in his emotional response.
“It felt good, I’d been waiting on it. But I gotta just give all the glory to God and keep grinding it out,” he said.
What’s more, his first career TD came against the toughest opponent Wisconsin’s faced this season and the first of many Big Ten teams to follow. For a Big Ten debut to go as well as Davis’s did, one would not be surprised that when asked if he expected to put up the numbers he did, he responded with resounding confidence. But, ever humble, Davis took a step back to examine the bigger picture.
“I’m not gonna say that, I just wanted to execute what Coach Chryst and Coach [Ted] Gilmore had said throughout the week during practice, I felt like I did a pretty good job of that,” he said.
Teamwork is idolized in football, and if you haven’t heard a coach or player mention it during an interview, open your ears. As such, the word is almost glossed over, swept into the shuffle. But TE Zander Neuville took his time in emphasizing Davis’s team-centric mindset.
“I think he has the right approach, especially for a freshman. He’s willing to do whatever he has to do to help the team. Whether it’s making blocks downfield, or being a playmaker … it’s nice to have him,” he said.
Davis is deeply valued on a team with an already versatile receiving corps, and he’s proven through his play, not his words, that he deserves respect. His most notable statement from Saturday perfectly summed up his dedicated mindset.
“If you give it your all in practice, Saturday should be easy.”