Jonathan Taylor ran for 203 yards and two touchdowns and junior quarterback Jack Coan added two more rushing touchdowns to lead the Wisconsin Badgers (3-0, 1-0 BIG) to a dominating 35-14 win over the Michigan Wolverines (2-1, 0-1) in their Big Ten Conference opener at Camp Randall Stadium.
Taylor had 143 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter, including a 72-yard touchdown run. He missed the second quarter with leg cramps but returned in the third to finish with 23 carries. As a team, the Badgers rushed 57 times for 359 yards, a 6.3 yards per carry average.
The Badgers avenged a 38-13 loss in Ann Arbor last season and pushed their win streak over the Wolverines in Madison to five. Michigan last won in Madison back in 2001.
Wisconsin’s defense held the Wolverines to 40 rushing yards and forced four turnovers. Michigan is 1-6 on the road against ranked opponents under coach Jim Harbaugh, who took over the program in 2015.
Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst was aggressive from the start. Michigan stopped the Badgers on their opening drive, but on 4th-and-1 on their own 35 yard line, Chryst kept the punt team on the sidelines. The Badgers converted the 4th down attempt and went on to score a touchdown. Wisconsin’s offensive line blew the Wolverines off the ball all day long.
Jack Coan didn’t need to throw it much, but when he did, he was on the money. Coan completed 13 of 16 passes ( 81.3%) for 128 yards. Through three games, Coan has completed 58 of 75 attempts (77.3%) for 692 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions.
Wisconsin scored 35 straight points before Michigan would get on the board. The Wolverines first points didn’t come until 2:08 left in the third quarter. It’s the first points the Badgers defense had allowed since a Miami field goal in the first quarter of the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl.
Wisconsin dominated the time of possession category by a margin of 41:07 to 18:53. The Badgers entered the game leading the nation at 37:13.
Senior OLB Zach Baun led UW with 7 tackles, including 2 for loss, to go with a sack and forced fumble. Baun now has 3 sacks and 5 tackles for loss on the season.
Badgers lose safeties to targeting penalties
The Badgers, already playing without starting safety Scott Nelson for the season (torn ACL), they lost starters Eric Burrell and Reggie Pearson in the second half, ejected for targeting.
Burrell’s hit on Michigan quarterback Dylan McCaffrey was originally ruled a late hit, then review added the targeting penalty. Pearson’s hit on McCaffrey a short time later, knocked him from the game and was flagged immediately as targeting.
The ejections will leave the Badgers short next week against Northwestern with both players required to sit out the first half.