Graham Mertz got off to a perfect start for Wisconsin Friday. Oct 23, 2020; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz (5) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten season got underway Friday with the #14 (AP) Wisconsin Badgers hosting the Illinois Fighting Illini, and the first half went very well for Wisconsin and for quarterback Graham Mertz. Mertz joined Wisconsin ahead of last season and was 247 Sports’ third-ranked pro-style passer nationally in the 2019 recruiting class, but only appeared in limited mop-up duty against Central Michigan and Kent State last year, with Jack Coan serving as the Badgers’ starter. An injury to Coan this spring paved the way for Mertz to win the starting job, and the first half of this one went about as well as he could have hoped:

Here are those four touchdown throws:

That’s an incredible start for Mertz and the Badgers, who led 28-7 at the half. And Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes was one of many taking note:

We’ll see where Mertz and Wisconsin go from here.

[Big Ten Network on Twitter; photo from Jeff Hanisch/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.