UW Football: Five things to know vs. Utah State

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WHAT'S THE CATCH?

You have to go back nearly a decade to find the last time the Badgers were led in receiving yards by someone born outside the state. Senior wide receiver Jazz Peavy (Kenosha) did the honors last season with 43 catches for 635 yards and a team-best five receiving touchdowns. He followed in the footsteps of wide receiver Alex Erickson (Darlington) in 2014 and '15, wide receiver Jared Abbrederis (Wautoma) in 2011, '12 and '13, tight end Lance Kendricks (Milwaukee) in 2010, and wide receiver Nick Toon (Middleton) in 2009. Tight end Garrett Graham (Brick, New Jersey) was the last non-Wisconsinite to top this list in 2008. Peavy could easily continue the streak in 2017, but he'll have a lot of competition based on the current depth chart. Sophomores Quintez Cephus (Macon, Georgia) and A.J. Taylor (Kansas City, Missouri) and true freshman Danny Davis (Springfield, Ohio) are in the mix at wide receiver. Senior Troy Fumagalli (Aurora, Illinois) and sophomore Kyle Penniston (Orange, California) are the prime targets at tight end. In fact, Fumagalli, a preseason All-American, led the Badgers with 47 receptions a year ago, good for 580 yards and two TDs.

LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING

Wisconsin averaged 179.1 passing yards per game last season, which ranked 104th out of 128 Football Bowl Subdivision programs. That's the lowest output by a Paul Chryst-managed offense since he became a major-college coordinator in 1997, a stretch that includes multiple stops at Oregon State and UW and one at Pittsburgh. Yet the Badgers went 11-3 overall a year ago and scored 30-plus points six times. They did that while using two starting quarterbacks and facing a schedule that featured seven opponents ranked in the top 15. UW utilized a decent running game (39th nationally) and a profound sense of efficiency: a 62.5 percent completion rate (22nd) and 7.8 yards per pass attempt (37th). A plus-12 turnover margin (ninth) helped, too. Chryst is expecting more balance and production from his offense in 2017.

See items 3-5 at UWBadgers.com

Photo: Brandon Harrison / Wisconsin Badgers

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