Injuries mount for defensive line

Joe Monty

Notes: Badgers' secondary shuffle, Stellmacher strong in return

MINNEAPOLIS — The Badgers defensive line absorbed yet another blow Saturday, when starting defensive end Joe Monty went down with what Wisconsin football coach Barry Alvarez said was a serious knee injury.

Monty left the game with about six minutes left in the first quarter and did not return. His left knee was tended to on the sideline and his leg was put in a full brace.

With Monty out, true freshman starter Matt Shaughnessy and sophomore Kurt Ware took the overwhelming majority of snaps at defensive end, and had to confront a Minnesota team that ran the football 63 times for 411 yards.

"We struggled defensively. We're thin in the defensive line," Alvarez said. "We lost three more today and we were patching a group together and they're just trying to hold up."

Later in the game starting defensive tackle Jason Chapman, a redshirt freshman, injured his ankle and did not return, donning on a boot on his foot. Classmates Gino Cruse and Mike Newkirk, who typically rotate in at tackle off the sideline, assumed a heavy load after Chapman's injury.

"Chapman is just an ankle," Alvarez said. "I think he'll be OK. Monty's, I think, severe knee. I think Monty's not good."

While Alvarez said Chapman's injury was minor, Monty is the Badgers' third starting defensive lineman to go down with a serious injury this season. The team's best defensive tackle, Justin Ostrowski, has been out with a knee injury since early in fall training camp. Jamal Cooper, UW's best defensive end, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in week three at North Carolina. Now Monty, the team's most consistent defensive lineman, appears likely to miss an extended period of time.

Chapman began training camp as a reserve defensive end, but has started all season at tackle in place of Ostrowski.

The only original starter still in the lineup is defensive tackle Nick Hayden, who had five tackles and a pass breakup Saturday.

Late in the game the Badgers also were without defensive end Kurt Ware, who looked to be favoring a lower leg as he left the field. Brandon Kelly took his spot in the lineup.

Musical defensive backs

On many occasions this season the Badgers have sorted several players through the secondary. But never was that shuffling more pronounced then Saturday.

Freshman cornerbacks Allen Langford and Jack Ikegwuonu and senior corners Brett Bell and Levonne Rowan rotated liberally in the first half. In the second half, the Badgers primarily stuck with Langford and Ikegwuonu.

Starting free safety Roderick Rogers played most of the game, but left for a series in the first half after he appeared to injure his ankle. Zach Hampton replaced him.

Rogers finished with 10 tackles. Strong safety Joe Stellmacher led all players with 14.

Reserve strong safety Johnny White joined Stellmacher on the field in the goal-line defense.

Happy return for Stellmacher

After missing two games with a shoulder stinger, Stellmacher started for the fourth time this season Saturday and was the most consistent aspect of the Badgers' secondary. He also played on several special teams and recorded career highs with nine solo tackles and 14 tackles.

After butting heads with Minnesota's high octane offense all day, and trying to wrap up powerful running backs Laurence Maroney and Gary Russell, Stellmacher said he could hardly lift up Paul Bunyan's Axe.

"I'm exhausted," Stellmacher said. "I could hardly celebrate after the game. I'm tired…

"I lifted it one good time. So I got a feel for it. I'm exhausted."

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