Russell Wilson Gives Badgers New Dimension to Already Powerful Offense


Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week following his league debut with the Badgers, in which he completed 10 of 13 passes for 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns while running for 62 yards and another score- an exciting 46 yard scramble.

So this is what Russell-Mania feels like? In the season-opening 51-17 home blowout of UNLV, Wilson’s performance truly lived up to the preseason hype.

The North Carolina State transfer (where he was all ACC second team) became just the second UW quarterback to throw for 250 yards and rush for at least 50 yards in the same game — and the first Badgers signal caller to do so since 1979.

Badgers Coach Bret Bielema gave his first game impressions of Wilson:

“I have been in this profession for a while and you can see guys that naturally got a little bit of something to them, some moxie, some savvy, some God-given ability that makes him love every single minute of the day. Russell is a guy that has been very impressive. You’ve heard me say it a million times but I think people will see that. For instance when NFL scouts come in, when visitors are at practice, they are just amazed at the way he works. And today you saw why.”

With Wilson under center, the Badgers’ No. 1 offense scored on each of its eight possessions, including seven touchdowns, and racked up 444 yards in just under three quarters of action. Traditionally, the Badgers have had big bruising o-linemen and a stable of fast tailbacks. They have that again this year. But unlike most seasons, the QB isn’t just an efficient game manager. Usually that’s all they need; but in 2011 they have a quarterback who can do so much more.

Wilson is about more than efficiency, he’s a the biggest dual threat the Badgers have had at QB in recent memory. A running threat from under center/the shotgun, mixed in with what Wisconsin already has, is going to make opposing defenses lose sleep at night.

Wilson talked about the beginning of his Badger career.

“We did a really good job. We played hard and executed the offense really well. There are obviously little things we can better at and each and every play, but that’s just being critical,” Wilson said.

The 5-11 (generously listed), 210 lb communications major totaled 317 total yards was the best-ever mark by a Badgers QB in his debut, as were his pass efficiency (292.5) and completion percentage (76.9). His passing efficiency mark would lead the nation if he had met the NCAA’s statistical minimum of 15 pass attempts. The completion percentage and pass efficiency were the highest by a Wisconsin QB making his debut since 1951.

Wilson’s father, the late Harrison Wilson, III, played football and baseball at Dartmouth and was on the San Diego Chargers’ preseason squad.

Here’s the video highlights of Wilson’s first game, with more quotes. Courtesy of

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports 

He does regular weekly radio spots in Chicago and Cleveland and has appeared on live shows all across the world from Houston to New Zealand. You can follow him on Twitter

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