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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Sunday, September 24, 2023
Outside linebacker Zach Baun has been the most productive linebacker for the Badgers early this year.

Outside linebacker Zach Baun has been the most productive linebacker for the Badgers early this year.

Badgers cruise by Nebraska, keep the Freedom Trophy for another year

Jonathan Taylor must love when the Cornhuskers come up on the schedule. 

For the third time in as many games Taylor surpassed the 200-yard mark against Nebraska, becoming the first Badger to run for 200 yards three times against a team. 

More importantly though, he passed Herschel Walker for most rushing yards by any player through their junior season. In addition to the feat of most rushing yards through a junior season, he also moved up from fourth to second in career rushing yards in the Big Ten. 

The list goes on and on for Taylor. He has been absolutely special during his time at Wisconsin. After rushing for 264 yards combined against Michigan State, Illinois and Ohio State, he has bounced back by rushing for 454 yards in the past two games. 

The only other Big Ten team he has had more success against has been the Purdue Boilermakers. Coincidentally, the Badgers host the Boilermakers next week in another game where Taylor should have success. 

Let’s not forget about the talented group of wide receivers, though. 

Last week against Iowa, Danny Davis found the endzone twice, and Quintez Cephus added 94 yards a touchdown of his own. In Lincoln, the talented group of pass catchers continued to show off what they are capable of. AJ Taylor took a short slant the distance, breaking a number of tackles along the way. Aron Cruikshank continued his stellar season as a kick returner when he showed off his explosiveness, and took a kickoff 89 yards for a score. 

On the defensive end, the Badgers usually dominant defense gave up 493 yards, which is the most they’d given up all year. The unit bent all day but didn’t break. The Badgers held on three fourth downs, the most important of which came on a fourth and four while the Cornhuskers were only down 13 points. Zach Baun was able to hold Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez short of the marker as the spy deep in Badger territory

UW, however, continued a concerning trend with their recent struggles to wrap up ball carriers at the point of attack. Nebraska ran the ball to the tune of 273 rushing yards, which is remarkable considering UW held opponents to 84 rushing yards-per-game coming into the matchup. Many of those yards came after contact with Nebraska runners breaking the arm tackles of Wisconsin defenders. 

The Wisconsin defense should be good for another week as they prepare for the 4-6 Purdue Boilermakers, but will have to clean things up to keep their Big Ten championship aspirations alive. 

The Badgers will be rooting for the Hawkeyes on their trip back to Madison as they are still two games back of the undefeated Golden Gophers. 

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