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Badgers star LB mysteriously a near-DNP vs. Purdue despite being active

A Badgers star linebacker played just one snap vs. Purdue, despite being active.

The Wisconsin Badgers won by three scores for the third time this season, defeating the Purdue Boilermakers 38-17 to secure their first win in Big Ten play this season.

However, the win came with some unfortunate news, as running back Chez Mellusi suffered a lower-body injury that required him to be carted off the field in the fourth quarter.

In addition, there was a mysterious situation defensively for the Badgers, as star linebacker Maema Njongmeta was nowhere to be seen on the field until what appeared to be the final snap of the game, despite being in uniform and active against Purdue.

There were no signs of injury, as Njongmeta wasn't listed on the injury report at all ahead of the game, raising questions as to why the Badgers didn't play their star middle linebacker.

Head coach Luke Fickell added to the confusion postgame when sharing that Njongmeta was actually available to go, clarifying any injury concerns, but failing to make any comments on the lack of playing time.

“He was able to go,” Fickell said. “It wasn’t that he was out like he wasn’t on the depth chart. He was in there later in the game.”

“We’re rolling through on some situations and some things, and he didn’t play as much.”

While the Badgers comfortably won by three scores, the team’s run defense was a glaring issue, and Njongmeta could've been a significant help in helping shore up the second level.

With the star missing a majority of the game, Jake Chaney and Jordan Turner got the entirety of the linebacker reps on the day.