Despite a weather delay at the start, the Wisconsin Badgers kicked off their season with a 49-0 rout of the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Friday night.
The game was delayed 55 minutes because of lightning near the stadium before the Badgers would dominate on both sides of the ball for the shutout victory. The Badgers wasted little time getting started, scoring the go-ahead and what turned out to be the game winning touchdown just over four minutes into the game.
Jonathan Taylor capped off the 77-yard scoring march with a 37-yard touchdown run. By halftime, the Badgers led 28-0 and Taylor had 128 total yards and three touchdowns, two through the air and one on the ground. He finished with four scores, rushing for 135 yards on 16 carries. He added two receptions for 48 yards.
Taylor has now rushed for 100 or more yards in 23 of his 28 games played at UW. The only Badger backs with more 100 yard games are Ron Dayne (33), Montee Ball (26) and Anthony Davis (24).
Fifth-year senior Bradrick Shaw also returned to the field for the first time since suffering a torn ACL in the 2017 regular season finale at Minnesota. Shaw found the end zone with a 15-yard TD run with 7:28 left to play in the game. He was sprung for the score after a big block from reserve quarterback Chase Wolf. Shaw’s last touchdown came Nov. 11, 2017 in Wisconsin’s 38-14 win over Iowa at Camp Randall.
Quintez Cephus played a role early and finished with three receptions for 39 yards.
Jack Coan completed 19 of 26 for 199 yards and two touchdowns and the Badger defense forced three South Florida turnovers and held the Bulls to 157 yards of total offense. That’s the lowest total since UW allowed 133 yards to Minnesota in 2017.
The 49-0 win was UW’s most lopsided road shutout since beating Northwestern, 49-0 on Oct. 1, 1983. The Badgers tallied their fourth shutout under Paul Chryst and the team’s first since blanking Minnesota, 31-0 on Nov. 25, 2017.