MADISON — The injuries keep piling up for the Wisconsin Badgers heading into their conference opener against No. 8 Michigan State.
UW announced kicker Rafael Gaglianone will miss Saturday’s against the Spartans with a back injury. The junior wasn’t on Wisconsin’s injury report on Monday, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jeff Potrykus noted the placekicker appeared to be limping during last Saturday’s 23-17 win over Georgia State and during post-game interviews.
“We’ll just see. We’ll find out today a little bit more,” head coach Paul Chryst said when asked about the length of time Gaglianone will be out.
Gaglianone appeared to have returned to his 2014 form early this season, converting seven of eight field goal attempts. Senior and former walk-on Andrew Endicott, known more for his role as a kickoff specialist throughout his Wisconsin career, will take on the placekicking duties.
Endicott has played in 33 games as a Badger, but hasn’t attempted a field goal or extra point attempt .
“I think he did have a good camp,” Chryst said. “That group of specialists, they’ve been fun seeing them growing and developing. Obviously “Raf” has been doing really well and [punter/kickoff specialist] P.J. [Rosowski]’s giving us something. Anthony [Lotti], I think he’s settling in. [Long snapper] Conor Udelhoven—it’s a good thing we don’t talk about him, right? He’s been good, and Andy—I feel good about that group.”
Chryst said that field goal situations could be affected, but he wouldn’t put a player out on the field if he didn’t feel confident in them.
Dietzen out, Kapoi questionable
The offensive line gets thinner again, as redshirt freshman Jon Dietzen was also ruled out on Thursday. That leaves both Micah Kapoi—himself listed as questionable with a left foot injury—and Brett Connors for the left guard spot.
Kapoi, a redshirt sophomore, has been battling the foot injury since UW’s 16-14 win over LSU in the season opener. Chryst admired both players for their roles and approach so far this season.
“That’s what I love about Micah, and I think we got a bunch of these guys, he’s not putting himself at risk, but he’ll do anything for this group. Brett would be the one guy that would be the swing guy for us.”
Connors now backs up almost every position on the offensive line. He’s the No. 2 left tackle, left guard, center and right tackle.
“That’s what I appreciated from Brett, he gives us versatility,” Chryst said.
Running backs still in question
On the running back front, redshirt freshman Bradrick Shaw has also been downgraded to out with a right shoulder injury. Both senior Corey Clement (left leg) and redshirt sophomore Taiwan Deal (right leg) are still listed as questionable, though Chryst admitted Clement was more optimistic than last week.
“Yeah, he was able to do a little bit more, so I do feel better,” Chryst said. “He’s done more this week than last week, so there’s a chance.”
If both Clement and Deal are ruled out, expect redshirt senior Dare Ogunbowale and possibly former tailback/current fullback Alec Ingold to assume larger roles in the backfield against the Spartans.