MADISON, Wis. — Leaping at Lambeau Field might come at a price for the Wisconsin Badgers.
They might be better off staying on the ground on Saturday in the marquee season opener against No. 5 LSU because the celebration could be a penalty in college football.
The Tigers and Badgers will play at Lambeau, the iconic home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. When the Packers score, they make a beeline for the stands behind the end zone and jump into the crowd to make the “Lambeau Leap.”
“I would love to see a touchdown,” a straight-faced coach Paul Chryst said on Monday, pausing for a few seconds as onlookers chuckled in the Camp Randall Stadium media room.
“I believe it is a penalty,” Chryst added.
The leap might run the risk of an unsportsmanlike conduct flag, not something the Badgers want to draw in a high-stakes game against LSU.
“I’ve been so focused on making sure that ball can somehow cross that (goal) line for the Badgers, and try to find a way to keep it from crossing for the Tigers,” Chryst said. “Didn’t spend a lot of time trying to clarify that.”
Chryst said the team did talk about it in the spring, and that the topic might come up again this week.
Otherwise, there are so many other things to prepare for in another nationally-televised opener for Wisconsin. The most glaring priority is trying to stop LSU running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette.
Two years ago, LSU beat Wisconsin in Houston at NRG Stadium. Last year, the Badgers lost to Alabama 35-17 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in Chryst’s debut as Wisconsin’s head coach.
Both times, the Badgers were considered underdogs playing an SEC power in the South.
The situation might be reversed on Saturday, even if LSU fans do tend to flock to road games, too.
“Hoping it’s kind of vice versa,” center Michael Deiter said. “I’m expecting more of a home-game feel, which will be nice.”
Outside linebacker Vince Biegel grew up a Packers fan at home in Wisconsin Rapids, about 110 miles west of Green Bay.
In March during spring practice, the Badgers practiced in Green Bay. They also looked like wide-eyed football fans when they toured the Packers Hall of Fame.
“It was a really special moment for me, and it was really special for a lot of guys on this team as well,” Biegel said. “We have a lot of Wisconsin-raised guys here, and I think it was also fun for the out-of-state guys to see what Lambeau is about.”
But this weekend is all about business. For cornerback Sojourn Shelton, that means no leaping, at least during the game.
“After you win, that’s a whole totally different story,” Shelton said . “As far as during the game, I’m not concerned about Lambeau leaping, I’m trying to get a win.”
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