After playing coy regarding the battle between Phillips and Danny O'Brien, head coach Bret Bielema announced neither quarterback would be available to the media this week. But according to ESPNWisconsin.com's Tom Lea and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Jeff Potrykus, Phillips has been taking the majority of the first-team reps in practice this week and will make his first career start on Saturday.
A redshirt senior, Phillips has underwent three knee surgeries as a result of torn ACL's that halted a once promising career. Phillips came to Wisconsin as a highly touted prospect out of Kingsport, Tenn., though he has appeared in only six career games. Two came this year -- vs. Minnesota on Oct. 20 and vs. Illinois on Oct. 6 -- though Phillips did not attempt a pass in either and rushed only once for a loss of two yards. In 2009, he appeared in four games, completing seven of 12 passes for 65 yards and one interception. Phillips has always been highly regarded for his mobility, as evidenced 138 rushing yards on 14 carries (9.9 yards per) in 2009.
O'Brien, meanwhile came to Wisconsin after transferring from Maryland. He began the season as the Badgers' starter, but was benched in favor of Joel Stave during the Week 3 game vs. Utah State on Sept. 15. O'Brien also entered late in the fourth quarter of the Sept. 29 game at Nebraska and then filled in for Stave once he broke his clavicle vs. Michigan State on Oct. 27.
Saturday's game vs. the Hoosiers kicks off at 11:00 a.m. CT. With Wisconsin (6-3, 3-2 Big Ten) holding a slim lead over Indiana (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten) in the conference's Leaders Division, the winner could take control as a likely participant in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis on Dec. 1