MADISON — On a day where the Wisconsin Badgers’ offense struggled to hold onto the ball, redshirt freshman Kendric Pryor made the most of his chances in UW’s 38–14 win over the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday.
Touching the ball only twice, Pryor scored two touchdowns. The first came on a 25-yard jet sweep in the second quarter, giving Wisconsin its first score of the day.
“When I saw Tyler (Biadasz) knock the corner down,” Pryor said, “I was like. ‘Thank you, I’m going to score my first touchdown’, so when I got to the sideline after ... I made sure I went over to Tyler and I was like, ‘Thank you.’ I shook his hand and said, ‘Thank you for the great block.’”
Later that quarter, Pryor added his first receiving touchdown as a Badger, nabbing a 12-yard pass from quarterback Alex Hornibrook. It was just Pryor’s seventh reception for Wisconsin.
“I haven’t scored since high school, so it feels great, getting that first touchdown.” Pryor said. “And then that second one, I was really excited after that second one.”
For Pryor, who missed three games after suffering facial injuries in a moped accident before the season started, Saturday highlighted the explosiveness that Wisconsin envisioned when it recruited him out of Homewood-Flossmoor (Ill.).
With upperclassmen George Rushing and Jazz Peavy out indefinitely with injuries and breakout sophomore Quintez Cephus lost for the year with a leg injury, Pryor’s play, along with fellow young receivers A.J. Taylor and Danny Davis, will be critical if Wisconsin hopes to make noise in the postseason.
“In the receiving room, we always talk about being ready for your opportunity because you never know when your name is going to be called.” Pryor said. “You know, with ‘Q’ being down this week, we talked about being dominant in the receiving room. Show them that just because ‘Q’ is down, we can still go out there and make plays and do big-time things.
“We just wanted to go out there and battle for our brother; like me, being in my accident, I know how he feels, not being able to go out there and play.”
Pryor’s emergence in the two-deep means he will continue to see the field in big spots. The jet sweep has been a staple of the Wisconsin offense over the past few seasons, but it has been executed to little effect in 2017. Pryor’s ability to make plays in space makes him an intriguing option for the Big Ten West champions.
“I kind of figure that I’ll be used more or have a bigger role than before,” Pryor said. “But I didn’t do anything different, I still prepare as normally, even if he was there. Just prepared the same way.”