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  11/24/20 - QB Graham MertzrSr/2025, Florida

  After dealing with little to no on-the-field adversity while leading the University of Wisconsin football team to victories in his first two career starts, the redshirt freshman quarterback's inexperience showed Saturday afternoon against a terrific defense. Mertz turned the ball over four times - three interceptions and a fumble - in the No. 10 Badgers' 17-7 loss to No. 19 Northwestern at Ryan Field. It didn't help matters that Mertz didn't have his two best wide receivers on the field with him, and there was plenty of blame to go around on a UW offense that couldn't get out of its own way. But on a day when the Badgers needed their young star to be great, he instead took a step back. "I do believe what drives him is doing all he can for this team, and when you're not able to do that or do it enough, it's a growing situation," UW coach Paul Chryst said. "This one was painful for a lot of us, and we've got to learn from it. We've got to take away what you can from it and go forward.

"I don't know if there's many quarterbacks that play that don't go through those highs and those lows. You've got to find a way to continue to work through and be consistent when things are going well and when things aren't going well." Mertz completed 74.4 percent of his passes during his first two starts - sandwiched around a positive COVID-19 test that sidelined him for two weeks - but he went just 23 of 41 for 230 yards against the Wildcats (5-0). He attempted 64 passes without throwing an interception dating to his debut last season, but his first career pick came in the second quarter and that was followed by two more. "Northwestern's a great, veteran defense," Mertz said. "They knew what was coming with our progressions, so obviously there were some that I'd like to get back. But now it's just taking it as a learning experience and grow from it." - Journal Sentinel

rSr/2025 QB Graham MertzFlorida
News Source: Journal Sentinel

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