Jack Coan will start his first college bowl game just a short drive from where he made his name as a high school standout. Coan, the Sayville High School product who now plays for Wisconsin, will start at quarterback for the Badgers in the Pinstripe Bowl against Miami on Dec. 27 at Yankee Stadium, Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst announced Thursday.
Coan’s father, Mike, tweeted the news just after midnight Thursday.
“Number 17 is off redshirt,” Mike tweeted in reference to his son. “He will be starting in the Pinstripe Bowl game on Dec 27 at Yankee Stadium. Lets go!!!”
Coan got the call because Alex Hornibrook, who played in nine games this season, continues to suffer from symptoms related to a concussion. Earlier this week, Coan practiced with the first-team offense as Hornibrook was held out of practice, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
“He has time to prepare,” Chryst said of Coan in a news conference shared on the Wisconsin Football Twitter account.
The Pinstripe Bowl will be Coan’s fourth start and fifth appearance in a game this season, meaning that he cannot redshirt. Redshirting would have given the sophomore Coan an extra year of eligibility.
Coan has completed 50 of 82 passes for 442 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in four games.
While redshirting was reportedly very much on the table for Coan at the beginning of the season, Hornibrook’s health changed that.
“One of the things we talked about with Jack at the beginning of the season is that we wouldn’t play him when the game was decided,” Chryst said. “Every time he’s played, the game’s been in the balance and this is one more great opportunity for him to be able to start.”
Chryst said that Coan is excited about the opportunity.
“Jack’s awesome,” Chryst said. “...We didn’t go into this season saying ‘we want to redshirt him.’ We went into the season saying that ‘we want your stats to be meaningful.’...I think you always make sure the players are ready to play. Are they ready to go out and compete? Once they do that, then you want to go out and help them and make those experiences as good as you can. That’s why I’ve appreciated Jack’s approach this whole year and am looking forward to this opportunity for him and for our team.”
Coan, the unanimous winner of the Hansen Award in 2016, a three-time All-Long Island first-team selection and holder of multiple Long Island passing records, made his first career start on Oct. 28. He completed 20 of 31 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown but lost a fumble in the 31-17 loss to Northwestern. He came on in relief of a reinjured Hornibrook the following week against Rutgers and also started against Penn State and Purdue.
“Nothing’s guaranteed, so you want to appreciate the opportunities that you get,” Chryst said. “That was our conversation at the beginning of the year. We’re excited. We’re excited for Jack and for our team.”
Coan went 1-2 in his three starts. Wisconsin finished the season 7-5 and 5-4 in the Big Ten.