Saturday’s slow start and eventual 45–14 Badger victory over New Mexico illuminated many of the pressure points and strengths of this Wisconsin squad.
Jonathan Taylor is good at running fast and far with the football (though fumbles still an issue)
Full disclosure: That’s a repeat subheading from last week. That’s as much about Taylor’s consistency as it is my laziness.
Jonathan Taylor dazzled Camp Randall with the best statistical game of his young career. He rushed for 253 yards and three touchdowns, setting off Heisman-sirens every which way.
The first quarter began slowly for the sophomore, where he ran for 34 yards in the frame. Sure, for a mortal, a 34-yard quarter is nothing to scoff at — but for “JT23,” such a quarter is like Ted Williams batting .280.
To make matters appear worse, early on in the second quarter, after a 39-yard run by fullback Alec Ingold, Taylor fumbled in the red zone, costing Wisconsin surefire points.
Football: Jonathan Taylor’s record day gives UW 45–14 win over New MexicoWarming up took a few quarters in Madison Saturday, but Wisconsin found their second-half mojo, eventually thrashing New Mexico 45–14. Read…
After the game, despite the team’s win and Taylor’s otherwise incredible play, questions of Taylor’s fumbling problem bombarded Head Coach Paul Chryst, Taylor and many of his teammates.
It doesn’t need to be repeated that Taylor’s frequent fumbling has besmirched many of his best showings and reared its head in any discussion of his talents.
“Any running back when he puts the ball on the ground is gonna come back mad, with fire in his eyes,” offensive lineman Michael Deiter said. “And JT, he does it every time.”
Deiter wasn’t the only one with high praise for Taylor’s ability to respond to miscues.
Quarterback Alex Hornibrook also commended Taylor’s resilience.
Chryst had Taylor’s back as well, saying “Not one of these guys is going out there and saying ‘I’m gonna try to fumble right here’…[Taylor] is competitive and he cares about this team.”
As for the man himself, Taylor said all the right things as usual.
He said Chryst always talks to him about responding to adversity and being there for his teammates. In response to questions regarding his fumbling issue, Taylor echoed the same sentiments he’s been saying for over a year.
“Ball security is important,” Taylor said. “I’m looking forward to a great week of work.”
Chryst dispensed some wisdom to close out his brief remarks regarding Taylor’s fumbling.
He mentioned how everyone on the team has things they need to work on, tighten up, and will be focused on during the week before their next contest against BYU.
“This is what’s neat about football,” Chryst said. “Everyone can do a little bit better.”
Hornibrook to A.J., again
Saturday’s game was Taylor-made (That pun has been seen elsewhere, but @BHeraldSports Tweeted it first, thank you very much). Not only did Taylor have a career day, but Hornibrook decided he only really felt like tossing the ball to his receiver A.J. Taylor.
Hornibrook only had 11 passing attempts, and of the eight completions, five of them were to A.J. Taylor for a total of 134 yards. Including an unbelievable Odell Beckham Jr.-esque one-handed grab down the sideline that had Camp Randall losing its collective mind.
“To be honest with you I really wasn’t thinking. I saw the ball and I thought it was going to be a little further than it was so I was slowing down to jump for it and I guess the guy had my hand … and I decided to go for it and it worked out,” Taylor said.
With regard to comparisons of his catch in the Orange Bowl, which may have been even more impressive, Taylor said “I don’t even know what happened in the Orange bowl, I think that was God.”
With sophomore receiver Danny Davis returning next week after suspension, A.J. Taylor should be able to find more space on the field as he won’t be the clear-cut first option for defenses to focus on.
Danny Vanden Boom could be the greatest quarterback to put on shoulder pads
I’m not ready to say he’s the GOAT yet, but I’m also not aware of any quarterback with a more pristine stat sheet than the Badgers’ backup quarterback, redshirt freshman Danny Vanden Boom.
Vanden Boom was 28-0 as a starter in high school, leading his Kimberly High School team to back-to-back Wisconsin state championships.
Now, his college career begins with one pass and one touchdown as he came in to relieve Hornibrook in garbage time, late in the game Saturday.
“It’s all downhill from here,” noted comedian Paul Chryst.
DISCLAIMER: As far as I am aware Vanden Boom is also undefeated in the NFL.
Scott Nelson continues to be a favorite
Watching redshirt freshman safety Scott Nelson play is a wonderful thing.
Early on it seemed like the young fella was everywhere on the field, making one tackle after another. Later, in a play Chryst credited as the turning point of the game, Nelson used a heavy pass rush to his advantage and picked off a pass for the first interception of his career.
It’s exciting to see a young member of the secondary already having such a huge impact on the defensive side of the ball. Considering Nelson will only get better, and increase his football IQ, it’s hard to think the Badgers won’t have a truly elite safety in their secondary for a few years to come.