Big-play Badgers overcome own sloppiness in 38-17 win over Nebraska

Jonathan Taylor has carried UW's rushing offense so far this season.

Image By: Brandon Moe

The No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0 Big Ten, 5-0 overall) are known as a slow-and-steady to win the race kind of team, but they needed a little bit more hare than tortoise in their 38-17 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-1, 3-3).

It was more from necessity than by choice, though, as the Badgers started off slow and sloppy on both sides of the ball — an all too common trend this season from the leaders of the Big Ten West.

Defensively, UW allowed Nebraska to march down the field on its opening drive until Wisconsin had its back against the wall in its own red zone. The Badgers needed a big play, and they delivered.

Redshirt sophomore linebacker Chris Orr snagged a tipped pass and took it 78 yards the other way for a touchdown.

Even with the early lead, Wisconsin’s offense still couldn’t get going. Five penalties in the first quarter killed a lot of the momentum they started to build, and a missed Cornhuskers field goal bailed out the Badgers to keep the shutout through most of the first half.

That’s when the sloppiness reared its ugly head once again.

Nebraska took over at its own 20-yard line with 1:20 left in the half, and 12 seconds later found itself in the end zone after an 80-yard catch-and-run. Following the longest touchdown it’s allowed all season, Wisconsin needed another big play.

True freshman running back Jonathan Taylor stepped up to the plate and scored even faster, going 75 yards in 11 seconds to answer the Cornhuskers and again make up for Wisconsin’s own mistake.

Taylor’s 249-yard performance was absolutely critical to the Badgers’ victory, as redshirt sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook made his fair share of mistakes, including a third-quarter pick-six of his own that tied the game.

Cue the big-play Badgers.

Taylor responded once again with two 15-yard runs on the following drive, and a 31-yard catch-and-run from sophomore wide receiver Quintez Cephus helped UW jump-start its offense and ultimately pull away.

Wisconsin finished with eight plays of 15 or more yards in the game, five of those coming on the ground. Penalties and turnovers dug the Badgers into a hole early, but explosive plays carried them out of it and on to victory.

UW will be looking for more big plays next week as they host the Purdue Boilermakers (1-1, 3-2) at Camp Randall Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

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