Jonathan Taylor stars, rushes for 249 yards

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

Image By: Brandon Moe

The numbers didn’t lie last Saturday night when the Badgers rushed for 353 yards en route to a 38-17 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers. At one point, UW rushed on 22 straight plays, which included a 10-play, 80-yard march down the field that finally put Nebraska to bed late in the fourth quarter. The passing game wasn’t too shabby either, but there wasn’t much pressure on quarterback Alex Hornibrook to make plays with his arm all night thanks to the rushing attack. The leader of that rushing attack, true freshman Jonathan Taylor, ran for an eye-popping 249 yards on 25 carries. He punched in two touchdowns as well, pacing the game for the Badgers all night long. There is no other player that made as large of an impact on the game as Taylor, and he was easily Wisconsin’s most valuable player against the Cornhuskers.

Taylor started his night a little slow, gaining only 50 yards in the first half until he broke out late in the second quarter and torched the Cornhuskers for a momentum-changing 75-yard touchdown run. After that, he was off to the races, amassing 125 more yards over three Badger possessions before he was relieved of his duties in the fourth quarter on account of the Badgers’ huge lead. He had the Nebraska defense on its heels all game and was consistently able to power himself through multiple defenders and gain extra yards on every carry. Taylor averaged 10 yards a carry on the night, leading all rushers in the game by a wide margin. To put Taylor’s monster game into perspective, his 249 yards were the third most the Cornhuskers have ever given up to an opponent and the most they’ve given up since Melvin Gordon’s record-breaking 408-yard day back in 2014.

Taylor has certainly gained the full trust of the coaching staff as well, as he has broken out this year as the Badgers’ surprise starting running back. He has improved every game, has the skill set to top his previous performance every time he takes the field and is quietly putting together a monster season. Through five games, Taylor has already run for 767 yards and nine touchdowns, numbers that won’t be ignored by the Heisman committee for much longer if he continues to tear defenses apart week in and week out.

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