MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin quarterback Tanner Mordecai broke his throwing hand in a loss to Iowa on Saturday and is out indefinitely.
Badgers coach Luke Fickell confirmed Monday that Mordecai’s hand was broken and didn’t set a timetable for the sixth-year senior’s possible return.
ESPN first reported the severity of Mordecai’s injury.
As Mordecai was attempting a pass late in the second quarter Saturday, his right hand hit the helmet of Iowa linebacker Jay Higgins on his follow through. TV cameras showed Mordecai mouthing “I can’t throw” shortly after the play before he headed into the locker room and sat out the rest of the game.
Braedyn Locke was Wisconsin’s quarterback for the remainder of the Badgers’ 15-6 loss. Wisconsin trailed 7-0 at the time of Mordecai’s injury.
Mordecai, a sixth-year senior, had completed 63.7% of his passes for 1,127 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions this season. He also had rushed for 161 yards and four touchdowns.
He transferred to Wisconsin after throwing for 3,500 yards each of the last two seasons at SMU. His 72 touchdowns passes at SMU set the program’s career record. He had enrolled at SMU after spending three seasons as a backup quarterback at Oklahoma.
He has completed 66.3% of his career pass attempts for 8,918 yards and 79 touchdowns with 26 interceptions.
Locke, a Mississippi State transfer, had attempted just one career pass before Saturday. After leading a pair of 60-yard drives that resulted in field goals on Wisconsin’s first two possessions of the second half, Locke fumbled twice and threw an interception while struggling against Iowa’s pass rush in the fourth quarter.
One of the fumbles resulted in a turnover. The other one came on a sack and caused a safety after Wisconsin offensive tackle Riley Mahlman recovered the fumble in the end zone.
Locke ended up going 15 of 30 for 122 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.
“Braedyn’s a very capable quarterback. He has good arm talent,” Wisconsin wide receiver Chimere Dike said after the game. “He’s confident. He has moxie. That’s a young kid. It was one of his first games and he came in and showed that he could help move the ball against one of the best defenses in the country. So I have all the faith in him, and we’re going to rally around him and continue to grow.”
This represents the Wisconsin offense’s second major injury of the season. Running back Chez Mellusi hasn’t played since getting carted off the field with a leg injury in a 38-17 victory at Purdue on Sept. 22. Mellusi isn’t expected to return this season.
Wisconsin (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) visits Illinois (3-4, 1-3) on Saturday.