Wisconsin was waiting for the result of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm Mertz’s result or declare it false positive. Wolf will also perform a PCR test to confirm a positive result of the antigen test. If confirmed, Mertz and Wolf would miss at least 21 days, according to Big Ten COVID-19 protocols for gamers.
Wisconsin is already without starting quarterback Jack Coan, who suffered a foot injury during practice and underwent surgery on Oct.6. Coan, who started 18 games for the Badgers in the past two seasons, is out indefinitely.
Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst, who spoke to reporters on Monday ahead of training, did not speak to Mertz’s or any player’s status regarding COVID-19 testing. Chryst said he’s confident Wisconsin can play this week’s game in Nebraska (0-1).
Junior Redshirt Danny Vanden Boom would likely be the next quarterback in line if both Mertz and Wolf are out. After Nebraska, Wisconsin welcomes Purdue before visiting Michigan # 13. Vanden Boom appeared in three games in 2018, completing the only pass he attempted for a 3-yard touchdown.
Chryst said he has no issues with the Big Ten’s 21-day policy, which is stricter than other leagues.
“The league’s # 1 concern, and I appreciate that, was how best to keep everyone safe from the virus and then how to deal with the impacts of it when someone has it.” Chryst said. “Sure, they told us it was more conservative, and if that helps a person, then that’s a good thing for us. We know there has been a lot of work to do. For us to play, if it’s something that’s in the best interests of everyone involved, then I fully support it. ”
In a statement released Sunday evening, Wisconsin said it “would not disclose information about COVID-related testing involving an individual student-athlete, due to medical confidentiality.”
The statement noted that no player who participated in Friday’s game tested positive before the game or reported any symptoms.
“Wisconsin Athletics continues to perform daily antigen testing for student-athletes, coaches and selected support staff associated with the Badger football program,” the statement said. “People who receive a negative antigen test result continue to participate in the team’s activities. Individuals who receive a presumably positive antigen test result are removed from team activities and must take a PCR test to confirm positivity. ”
Mertz, a freshman in a red shirt, was nearly perfect on Friday in a 45-7 win over Illinois. He completed 20 of 21 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns. He set team records for single game completion percentage (95.2) and touchdown passes. Mertz completed his first 17 passing attempts, tying a team record for consecutive wins.
A native of Overland Park, Kansas, Mertz is considered the best rookie quarterback in Wisconsin history. ESPN ranked him as the best pocket passer and the 21st overall player in the Recruiting Class of 2019.