As a top 15 team heading into the 2020 season, expectations were once again high for defending Big Ten West champion Wisconsin.

On Friday, the Badgers met those expectations by cruising past Illinois 45-7. But what surprised much of the sports world was the play of redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz. His play received feedback from many on Saturday morning, including ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit.

“We saw Wisconsin last night, who by the way looked incredibly talented and very good with their young quarterback Graham Mertz,” the College GameDay analyst said during an appearance on SportsCenter. “I love it all, but having the Big Ten (back) is very special for me.”

A highly touted recruit, Mertz was just seen in two games last season. Taking over the starting reigns on Friday, he starred with 17 consecutive completions to start the game. That was a school record.

In the end, Mertz finished with five touchdown passes and earned the praise of not just Herbstreit but also Super Bowl champion quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Based on Friday’s performance, it’s safe to say this is not the last we’ll hear from Herbstreit and others on Mertz.