University of Wisconsin outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel and tight end Zander Neuville are both questionable to play at Iowa this week.
The pair left early during the Badgers’ 24-21 loss to BYU on Saturday with right leg injuries. Neuville departed after the game’s second play from scrimmage when running back Jonathan Taylor was tackled into the back of his leg. Van Ginkel exited after playing only five snaps – and just before the Cougars’ first touchdown – before wearing a walking boot during the second half.
UW missed Van Ginkel’s pass-rushing ability Saturday, while Neuville’s absence left the Badgers short of blocking tight ends with Luke Benzschawel (right leg) also out.
Neuville spent this offseason recovering from a torn ACL in his right knee and also suffered a right leg injury that kept him out for most of fall camp and UW’s season-opening game against Western Kentucky. Badgers coach Paul Chryst said Monday that Neuville’s current injury isn’t related to those previous issues, however.
“To get (Neuville) back would be huge,” UW left guard Michael Deiter said. “He’s got to take it day by day. At the end of the day, he’s got to be smart. He knows his body better than anyone else, but when he’s in there and he’s going, it’s like having another O-lineman in the game who can also run routes and catch.
“He gives us a lot of strength on the edge, and he’s just a lot of fun to play with. The energy he brings, the confidence he brings, it’s kind of contagious in the huddle, so getting him back would be huge.”
Van Ginkel and Neuville are both still listed on UW’s depth chart this week, and the Badgers will release a final injury report Thursday.
Sophomore outside linebacker Christian Bell played 40 snaps after Van Ginkel’s departure, per Pro Football Focus, although Tyler Johnson’s no longer listed on the injury report and would likely start at Iowa if Van Ginkel’s unable to play.
“There’s opportunity for others to step in and step up,” Chryst said after Saturday’s game. “You want (Neuville and Van Ginkel) in there, and yet, they (weren’t), and we’ve got to find a way to overcome those.”
Benzschawel will miss his third straight game this week, while inside linebacker Griffin Grady (right leg), running back Bradrick Shaw (left leg) and defensive end Kraig Howe (right leg) are also expected to remain out.
Inside linebacker Mike Maskalunas (right leg) is listed as questionable after missing the BYU game, while true freshman safety Reggie Pearson (left leg) remains questionable to make his Badgers debut this week.
SUBHED: Hintze, Henningsen earn scholarships
UW walk-ons Zach Hintze and Matt Henningsen are now on scholarship.
Hintze, the Badgers’ junior kickoff specialist, has recorded 17 touchbacks on 19 kickoffs this season after recording a 68.4 touchback percentage last year.
Henningsen started UW’s first two games this season at defensive end. The redshirt freshman has recorded eight tackles, one for a loss, and one quarterback hurry.