Report: QB Joel Stave will start for Wisconsin this weekend

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

Somebody has let the quarterback out of the bag, and it seems the Danny O'Brien era will not be a long one at Wisconsin.

According to a report in the Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema told a group of boosters on Wednesday night that redshirt freshman Joel Stave would get his first career start against UTEP at Camp Randall on Saturday. Bielema had been keeping his quarterback decision a secret from the public this week.

Stave replaced O'Brien in the second half of Wisconsin's narrow victory over Utah State last week. Though Stave didn't play well, the Badgers outscored Utah State 13-0 in the second half.

Stave completed only two of his six passes for 15 yards, as his main duty in the game seemed to be turning around to hand the ball to Montee Ball. Bielema said during his press conference on Monday the game wasn't "a realistic picture of what maybe Joel's strengths are."

As for O'Brien, it's hard to imagine this is what he was hoping for when he decided to transfer from Maryland. O'Brien had multiple suitors interested in him, including fellow Big Ten school Penn State but ultimately decided to go to Madison.

It was a plan that worked very well for N.C. State transfer Russell Wilson in 2011, but O'Brien hasn't been nearly as successful. Through his three games as Wisconsin's starter, O'Brien threw for 454 yards and three touchdowns but also had three turnovers and led the Wisconsin offense to only 49 points.

The Badgers averaged 44.1 points per game last season.

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