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Why Wisconsin football's Nick Herbig will be out the first half against Minnesota

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The Badgers will have to make do without their best pass rusher for the first two quarters of Saturday's game against Minnesota.

A University of Wisconsin spokesperson told reporters Tuesday that the program's appeal of junior outside linebacker Nick Herbig's targeting penalty last week at Nebraska was denied. Herbig was flagged in the third quarter after a late hit on quarterback Casey Thompson, and he will miss the first half of the 2:30 p.m. game against the Gophers.

UW interim coach Jim Leonhard said Monday he disagreed with the call but wasn't sure how likely it would be that Herbig's appeal would be successful. 

"All I saw was him break the pocket and I didn't think he was going to slide," Herbig said Monday. "I didn't think he was going to slide, you know? Try and make a statement. He went down at the last second and I did everything in my power to avoid him, I really did. But ended up clipping his helmet."

This is the second straight UW-Minnesota game to be affected by a targeting call. UW safety Collin Wilder was called for targeting on the first play from scrimmage in Minneapolis last season, taking off one of the Badgers' captains and emotional leaders. Herbig is also a captain.

Herbig leads the Big Ten with 11 sacks, which is tied for the most among Power Five conference players and tied for second-most in the FBS. He has 43 tackles, including 15 1/2 for loss, and two forced fumbles this season.

Herbig has been a starter for UW since his true freshman season in 2020, and his only missed game at UW came this season against Purdue.

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