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 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.
The junior running back continued his incredible legacy with his second 200 yard day in a row. In addition to the feat of most rushing yards through a junior season, he also moved up from fourth to second for career rushing yards in the Big Ten.
The leaders for career rushing yards in Big Ten history includes five Badgers, furthering the case that UW has for “running back U”.
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. He has averaged 270.0 yards on the ground in his two meetings with Purdue, and their defense giving up 172 yards per game, Taylor should continue his string of dominant performances.
Let’s not forget about the talented group of wide receivers, though.
Last week against Iowa, Danny Davis found the end zone twice, and Quintez Cephus added 94 yards and a touchdown of his own.
In Lincoln, the deep 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. Reserve Aron Cruikshank continued his stellar season on kickoff returns 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 have given up all year.
The unit bent 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. Zach Baun held Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez short of the marker as the spy.
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.
Wisconsin now prepares for their final home game of the 2019 season as they host the Boilermakers in another game they should be able to leave no doubt. They continue to trail Minnesota in the Big Ten West and are forced for Northwestern next weekend as well.
For the first time in years, the border battle will be meaningful at the conclusion of the season with the Big Ten West title and a trip to Indianapolis still looming.