Friday, November 5, 2004
It's all in a day's work
Unknown QB quietly leads Badgers to 8-0 record
Utah might be the most unexpected undefeated team, but it's just as surprising to see Wisconsin at 8-0 and ranked No. 5, poised to make a run at the national title game. Even more improbable is that an unknown sophomore, John Stocco, has emerged as a resilient quarterback for the Badgers. Stocco hasn't put up extraordinary stats, and he's not as well-known as the anchor of the Badgers' defense, lineman Erasmus James. But Stocco proved he could lead a productive offense when he threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns against Ohio State Oct. 9 and has played well enough to keep Wisconsin winning since then. He took timeout on Election Night to run the 2-minute drill with the Enquirer's Dustin Dow.
Q: Wisconsin was one of the battleground states. Are you guys more popular in the state than the election?
A: I don't think so. That's been huge here. There were signs everywhere. Honk if you like Kerry. Honk if you like Bush.
Q: But you guys are still popular, right? I mean, you're undefeated.
A: Yeah, I think so.
Q: Do you ever have to remind yourself that you're undefeated?
A: Not really. Our goal the whole season is to be (undefeated after each game). It doesn't matter what happened in the past. The future doesn't matter either.
Q: But you must have national title hopes?
A: I don't think about that at all. A lot of the guys don't think about that. There's too much football left.
Q: How important was that Ohio State game for you?
A: That was big for me. Up until that point, I wasn't playing very well. To go at Ohio State and do things well was important for me. It was a big step. I feel a lot more comfortable now. I've been in quite a few different situations, but until that Ohio State game, I hadn't had that type of big-game experience.
Q: How much does it matter to you that your numbers aren't outstanding, but yet your team is undefeated?
A: It doesn't matter to me at all. I just win football games. I'm going to do whatever it takes. I've done well performing when they need me to. But I do have to get more consistent.
Q: What's more important to your team, your arm or Erasmus James' pass rush?
A: I don't know. 'Ras is unbelievable. He's so much fun to watch. I don't want to choose, but he's unbelievable. Sometimes in practice we go against the (first-team defense). He always gets to me.
Q: Full contact?
A: No. They don't hit the quarterbacks in practice. Thankfully.
Big Ten standings
A perfect start
Wisconsin's first eight games of the season:
|Sept. 4||CENTRAL FLORIDA||W||34-6|
|Sept. 18||at Arizona ||W||9-7|
|Sept. 25||PENN STATE||W||16-3|
|Oct. 9||at Ohio State||W||24-13|
|Oct. 16||at Purdue||W||20-17|
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