MADISON — The University of Wisconsin’s 16-14 upset of LSU on Saturday didn’t just earn the Badgers a spot in the Associated Press poll. It catapulted them to their highest ranking since the 2011 season.
UW, unranked in the preseason poll, came in at No. 10 on Tuesday and jumped Iowa (16th) and Michigan State (12th) to become the third-highest ranked team in the Big Ten behind Ohio State (fourth) and Michigan (fifth).
The Badgers matched the best season debut for an unranked team in the poll’s history. Arizona did the same in 2014.
“We knew how good we were this summer,” UW running back Dare Ogunbowale said. “We saw the capabilities and were we could go, and we set goals for ourselves. This doesn’t really change too much. But it’s nice to have that kind of respect for the work that you put in this summer.”
Alabama retained the top spot in the poll and earned 54 of 61 first-place votes. They were followed by Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State and Michigan in the top five. Houston, Stanford, Washington and Georgia were the only other teams ranked ahead of the Badgers.
UW was ranked in the final three AP polls of the 2015 season, finishing at No. 21 after a victory over Southern California in the Holiday Bowl.
The Badgers are ranked No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches poll, which was also released Tuesday.
Jacobs to play both ways
Leon Jacobs will play both ways for the University of Wisconsin after sophomore inside linebacker Chris Orr suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Badgers’ 16-14 win over LSU on Saturday.
Jacobs, a redshirt junior, started at inside linebacker to begin last season before Orr took over his starting spot early in the year. Jacobs was moved to fullback in the spring and is third in the pecking order at that position.
“He’s a guy on the roster who’s played and started for us in games,” Chryst said. “I like what he did at fullback, and yet right now that was the one guy that we could move there. ... So he’ll get reps at both.”
247sports first reported that Jacobs would be playing linebacker once again for UW. He spent his first year with the Badgers at outside linebacker before being moved inside prior to the 2014 season. He’s recorded 45 tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks in his career.
Jack Cichy and T.J. Edwards will likely remain the starting linebackers once Edwards returns from a fractured left foot he suffered this summer. He’s listed as questionable for Saturday’s home opener against Akron. Ryan Connelly replaced Orr against LSU and recorded seven tackles.
Rudolph believes Kapoi will play
UW offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said he thinks left guard Micah Kapoi will play against Akron on Saturday after leaving in the first half against LSU with a left foot injury.
Kapoi, listed as questionable on Monday’s injury report, started against the Tigers but was rotating at the position with redshirt freshman Jon Dietzen before his injury. Rudolph said he isn’t sure yet whether he will continue to rotate the two at left guard.
“We’ve got a whole week of practice yet, so I’ll see at the end of the week,” Rudolph said of the rotation. “That’s kind of how we do it. We talk real honest about where we’re at. I think these guys truly approach this as a group, and they want to do well as a group and they’re not selfish guys. They’re honest with their approach and I feel pretty good about being honest with them, so we’ll make that decision when we get closer.”
Cichy, Gaglianone honored
UW kicker Rafael Gaglianone was one of three kickers in the country to be named a Lou Groza Award “Star of the Week” after making all three of his field goal attempts and nailing the game-winning, 47-yard kick to beat fifth-ranked LSU.
Gaglianone was also named the Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday.
Badgers inside linebacker Jack Cichy was named the Lott IMPACT Player of the Week after recording a team-high eight tackles, one tackle for loss and a forced fumble against the Tigers.