Upon Further Review: Badgers’ Taylor flashes in win over Kent State

If there was any question whether Wisconsin would sleepwalk through its game against Kent State, any concerns were answered quickly.

It was another eye-opening performance from both running back Jonathan Taylor and the Badgers defense as Wisconsin easily rolled over its Mid-American Conference opponent 48-0 at Camp Randall Stadium.

Just when you think Taylor can’t top himself, he did, accounting for each of Wisconsin’s first five scores as the Badgers had touchdowns on seven straight possessions.

More Badgers coverage

There was very little MACtion for Kent State going up against the Badgers’ tough defense. The Golden Flashes had six three-and-outs, including on three of their first four possessions. Kent State’s lone chance to ruin UW’s chance of a shutout failed when a 52-yard field-goal attempt bounced off the bottom bar and back onto the field.

Everything about the game spoke of Wisconsin domination. The Badgers outgained Kent State 520-124, averaged 6.9 yards per play, had nine tackkes for loss compared to the Golden Flashes’ two and didn’t have to locate punter Anthony Lotti until there was 3:35 left in the game.

No sleepwalking here, just a nightmare for an overmatched opponent.

Here’s a recap of Saturday’s game:

PLAYER OF THE GAME

What more can we say about Jonathan Taylor? He tallied five touchdowns, tying a Wisconsin single-game record which was last done by Melvin Gordon in 2014. Speaking of Gordon, Taylor rushed for 186 yards (on just 19 carries, a 9.8 average), which pushed him a yard past Gordon as Wisconsin’s third-leading all-time rusher. This was Taylor’s 27th career game with 100+ yards, passing Montee Ball for second-most in UW history. Only Ron Dayne has more with 33. Eleven of his 19 carries went for a first down or a touchdown. Not too shabby.

Badgers all-time databases

DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME

Kent State stood no chance against Wisconsin’s defense, which recorded eight sacks (nine, including a team sack) and nine tackles for loss. Zack Baun and Chris Orr helped lead the charge. Baun had three tackles – all sacks. He’s just the fifth Badger since 2005 to have three sacks in a game, joining Garret Dooley (2017), Jack Cichy (2015), Joe Schobert (2015) and Vince Biegel (2014). Orr had five tackles and two sacks, his second straight game with two sacks. Orr became the first Wisconsin player to have two games with multiple sacks since 2015, when both Cichy and Schobert did it.

THAT MOMENT

This one got out hand early, but Kent State did have a chance on its first series to throw a haymaker – but it failed to land. On third-and-8, quarterback Dustin Crum threw a deep pass to Mike Carrigan, which would have set up the Golden Flashes in Wisconsin territory. But Carrigan dropped the deep pass (Deron Harrell was generously awarded a pas break up). Kent State punted and the game quickly tilted, as expected, in Wisconsin’s favor.

 

THIS NUMBER

5 – Consecutive games Wisconsin has scored on its first possession. The Badgers are the only FBS team to have scored on their opening possession in every game this season. Each of these touchdowns for the Badgers, unsurprisingly, has been a Taylor rushing TD.

THEY SAID IT

“It’s an honor. He’s on the (listing of Badgers in the NFL) wall. Those guys set the standard. The thing about our running book room now is we’re trying to raise the bar, trying to push the next group of running backs that come in. I’m pretty sure Melvin would want the same thing, he wanted to push the bar for the next running back group, which is us. I think the biggest thing is pushing everyone in that room so we can become the best running back group in the country.” — Jonathan Taylor on passing Gordon as UW’s third all-time leading rusher

 

“It’s awesome. It never gets old. And you know — I know it and we know it; guys are talking on the sidelines — he’s special. To be able to see it, it’s pretty neat to do.” — head coach Paul Chryst on watching Jonathan Taylor play

 

“It’s huge to be able to put pressure on the quarterback and that piece of it, still find a way to manufacture some takeaways. All those things. They’ve been disruptive right now, but specifically what you’re talking about, it’s huge. That was one thing, and not having to do it with kind of the all-out pressures either. It was a lot of different ways. I’ve enjoyed seeing different guys. I think Zack Baun is playing at a real high level now. You’re seeing a lot of different guys show up, and it’s been good.” — Chryst on Wisconsin’s sacks

 

“You see the joy in the play that we have, you see the nastiness. This is probably the most fun I’ve ever had playing football.” — linebacker Chris Orr

 

WHAT’S NEXT

It’ll be Wisconsin’s fourth straight home game as the Badgers host Michigan State. The Spartans are 4-2, although both their losses have come to ranked teams, including a 34-10 loss at Ohio State on Saturday.