Scott Tolzien: Not the Flashiest of QBs, But Highly Effective

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Wisconsin Badgers‘ starting quarterback Scott Tolzien may not be as flashy as Denard Robinson, Terrelle Pryor or even Ricky Stanzi, when it comes to his fellow Big Ten quarterbacks.

However, he does compare in effectiveness. The senior from Rolling Meadows, IL ranks eighth in the country with a passer rating of 176.2. His career pass efficiency of 149.8 is the best in Wisconsin history and ranks eighth among active FBS quarterbacks with at least 20 games started.

For a team which is always known for their running game, Badger quarterbacks are usually stuck in the role of an unsung hero. How many have already forgotten the names Jim Sorgi, John Stocco and Tyler Donovan?

Tolzien is doing his best to change the perception in Madison by establishing a passing game on one of the most high-powered offenses in the country.

By: Nick Grays

On the heels of a 70-3 thrashing of Austin Peay, Tolzien took advantage in the limited minutes he played (only the first half) by completing 15-of-17 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Yes, it was Austin Peay, who I’m not sure could beat division three power UW-Whitewater, but his numbers previous to the game weren’t too shabby either. Against Arizona St. and San Jose St., Tolzien was 34-for-42 with 463 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. Keep in mind those games were played without his top receivers in David Gilreath (pictured above) and Nick Toon who are set to return versus Michigan State on Saturday.

When asked about his level of play in the last two weeks, Tolzien answered, “I think it’s improved in the past two weeks. The biggest thing has been the turnovers, the turnovers in the first two weeks versus the last two weeks. You can’t play a clean game with turnovers and that makes a big difference. It starts with that but also the guys around me have been playing really good. You look at David and Nick going down and guys have just stepped up. Really, football is a team game, and guys around me are playing really well.”

One of those guys is tight-end Lance Kendricks who has emerged as one of Tolzien’s favorite targets in the last couple of weeks. In his last two games, Kendricks has 13 catches for 234 yards and two touchdowns. His 299 yards receiving leads the country at the tight-end position.

“Scotty has a lot of trust in me. He’s confident in throwing me the ball. We’ve completed a lot of passes. I that’s done a lot for his confidence and mine as well. We try to keep that consistency up in practice. He’s been playing great and I give him a lot of credit for that,” said Kendricks.

Even Head Coach Bret Bielema will admit how his star quarterback tends to fly under the radar.

“Scott is kind of one of those guys that he’s probably playing well when he goes unnoticed. When he’s doing things the way he’s supposed to be doing them, he’s so efficient. He does a great job of controlling the game. I know as a senior, he is playing his best football. He really does a great job over the course of a week. Scott will get better as the season goes along because he’s going to be able to pick up tendencies and traits and reads and keys off teams as they play games,” said Bilema.

If Tolzien does indeed get better, the Badgers could be a scary team going through Big Ten play. Wisconsin is already 14-3 with Tolzien as the starting quarterback. Moreover, they are averaging 33.6 points and 432.7 yards in those 17 games with him behind center.

Let me know what you think about Scott Tolzien’s career at Wisconsin by commenting below! Are the Badgers contenders for the Big Ten Championship?

Follow Nick Grays by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best.

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