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Recap: Jonathan Taylor sends Heisman message in Wisconsin’s 48-0 win over Kent State

Golden Flashes fail to stop Taylor, who posted 215 yards from scrimmage and the first 5 TDs of the day.

Kent State v Wisconsin Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor couldn’t be stopped.

The two-time Heisman finisher scored each of Wisconsin’s first five touchdowns in a 48-0 rout of Kent State, finishing with 186 rushing yards and 29 receiving yards in an all-around dominant performance. Those 215 yards from scrimmage were all produced in the first half and the first 40 seconds of the second half.

Even after the Badgers’ coaching staff had Taylor call it a day at the 14:20 mark in the third quarter, Wisconsin scored another two touchdowns and completely the shutout defensively.

Kent State only produced 124 yards of total offense, compared to Wisconsin’s 520. The Golden Flashes managed to pick up 10 first downs and even reached as far as the Badgers’ 34 on just their second possession. However, a sack took Kent State out of Matthew Trickett’s field goal range. Sacks became a frequent occurrence and Wisconsin’s top-ranked scoring defense produced eight of them in the shutout.

Quarterback Dustin Crum got the start for Kent State after throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns against Bowling Green last week. Facing an elite defense in complete contrast to Bowling Green, Crum completed 6-of-8 passes for 28 yards. Woody Barrett was inserted into the offense in the middle of the third quarter, and he completed 4-of-9 throws for 36 yards. The rushing game didn't produce much against the No. 1 rushing defense in the FBS. Kent State averaged 2.1 yards per carry, and no back produced more than 32 yards facing Zack Baun and the Badgers’ top-notch linebacking corps.

Wisconsin also trotted out two quarterbacks, and the Badgers completed 17-of-20 passes for 172 yards as a unit. Quarterback Jack Coan threw two touchdown passes, including a screen to Taylor for 19 yards in the second quarter. Four of Taylor’s five touchdowns struck from inside the red zone, but his 48-yard run — his final play of the afternoon — was quite the finishing statement.

Kent State is the third team to score 0 points against Wisconsin this year, joining South Florida and fellow MAC member Central Michigan. The Golden Flashes fall to 2-3 with the loss, but all three of those teams (Arizona State, Auburn, and Wisconsin) sit inside the AP Top 25. The Golden Flashes continue their road trip and compete for the Wagon Wheel against winless Akron next Saturday.