All signs point to outside linebacker T.J. Watt suiting up for the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday.
The redshirt junior, who leads UW in tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (seven), was not listed on the team’s Thursday injury report after suffering a left shoulder injury in the Badgers’ 23-17 win over No. 10 Nebraska last weekend. That bodes well for Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) as it faces a potent Northwestern (4-4, 3-2) offense on Saturday (11 a.m. CST, ABC).
As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jeff Potrykus noted, Watt was in full pads on Wednesday. With the youngest of the Watt brothers apparently ready to play, that will leave the two-deep at outside linebacker at full strength opposite redshirt senior Vince Biegel and backups Garret Dooley and Zack Baun. They will face a Northwestern offense featuring running back Justin Jackson (868 rushing yards) and quarterback Clayton Thorson (15 touchdown passes).
Both Dooley (4.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks) and Baun have played well this season rotating in with Watt and Biegel on defensive series, and also stepping up when both have been injured at times this season.
The Badgers will be without right tackle Jacob Maxwell (right shoulder), fullback Austin Ramesh (right shoulder) and nose tackle Olive Sagapolu (right arm) against the Wildcats. Expect redshirt freshman David Edwards to make his second career start in place of Maxwell, as he did against the Huskers last week. Sophomore Alec Ingold will assume the starting fullback position.
There was no confirmation on whether junior cornerback/kickoff returner Natrell Jamerson will play. He’s still listed as questionable with a left leg injury.