MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Joel Stave fared well in his road debut at quarterback for Wisconsin, and coach Bret Bielema has been pleased with the redshirt freshman's poise in two starts.
Stave completed 12 of 23 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown in the 30-27 loss at Nebraska on Saturday night.
"He arrows up in all categories," Bielema said Monday of Stave, who was sacked three times by the Huskers. "I think he plays better in games than he does in practice. To me, that's something you've got to learn about your quarterback. He took some real shots on Saturday from really big people and obviously handled that and didn't miss a beat. He's truly competitive."
Junior Danny O'Brien was inserted at quarterback late in the fourth quarter after Stave struggled to get back on his feet after a sack. Wisconsin offensive coordinator Matt Canada planned to run a naked bootleg with 2:55 left, but when O'Brien saw a cornerback and safety line up differently for Nebraska, he changed the play. It resulted in a fumble off a botched handoff to senior running back Montee Ball.
Based on practice heading into the Nebraska game, it was the coaches' intent to use O'Brien for 2-minute situations. If faced with a similar scenario Saturday at home against Illinois, Bielema isn't sure which quarterback would be called to duty.