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Wisconsin clears running back Jalen Berger from the squad

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin excluded running back Jalen Berger from their football schedule a year after leading the team in the race.

Badgers coach Paul Chryst announced the decision on Sunday in a statement without specifying the reason for the dismissal. Berger did not play in Wisconsin’s 24-0 win over Illinois on Saturday.

Berger, a native of Newark, New Jersey, rushed for a peak 301 tag-team yards in the freshman last season despite missing three of Wisconsin’s seven games with injury. But his playing time had been sporadic this year as he slipped into the depth chart.

He didn’t play in a 16-10 season opener loss to Penn State while Clemson moved to Chez Mellusi and Isaac Guerendo got most of the races. Chryst said two days later that Berger had a “good approach”, adding that “just because he hasn’t played doesn’t mean he’s doing something wrong”.

Berger followed the Penn State game by rushing 15 times for 62 yards and a touchdown in a 34-7 win over Eastern Michigan, but he’s had nine carries in Wisconsin’s three games since. He ran an 8-yard run in a 41-13 loss to No.14 Notre Dame and had eight rushing attempts for 18 yards in a 38-17 loss to No.8 Michigan.

Wisconsin ran 61 times for 391 yards without Berger in the backfield on Saturday, as Mellusi gained 145 yards on 21 carries and rookie Braelon Allen rushed for 131 yards on 18 attempts.

Berger ends his career in Wisconsin with 84 carries for 389 yards and three touchdowns, plus four catches for 30 yards. He’s had 24 carries for 84 yards and one scoring plus two receptions for 17 yards this season.

He is Wisconsin’s third running back to start since preseason.

Wisconsin fired Loyal Crawford and suspended Antwan Roberts in the week before the Penn State game after police said Crawford had armed himself with a knife during a brawl in a dormitory. Crawford has been cited on felony charges of criminal disorderly conduct and disorderly conduct while armed.

Roberts entered the transfer portal less than three weeks after announcing his suspension.

Wisconsin (2-3) hosts the Army (4-1) on Saturday.


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