Badgers: Safety John Torchio named semifinalist for major award

This year’s Wisconsin defense hasn’t been as dominant as last year’s unit but several guys are playing at a high level. That includes safety John Torchio, who was named a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award, an honor that goes to the top defensive player in the country.

The senior has started all eight games for the Badgers and been extremely productive. He ranks second on the team in tackles (42), while also posting 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. But where he has done his biggest damage is in the pass game. Torchio leads Wisconsin with five interceptions, which is also tied for the most in college football. The former walk-on returned two of those for touchdowns, including a UW record 100-yard return in the season opener.

Torchio’s exploits led to him being named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after his game against Purdue when he tallied 10 tackles, two interceptions and a touchdown.

Wisconsin will face Maryland on Saturday.