Jonathan Taylor scored four total touchdowns and rushed 19 times for 102 yards to continue his Heisman campaign as the 17th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers (2-0) thoroughly dispatched the Central Michigan Chippewas (0-2) by a final score of 61-0 in Madison, Wisconsin.
The scoring opened early, as Jonathan Taylor ran in from four yards out with 8:30 to go in the first quarter. Just 44 seconds of game time later, the Chips found themselves in a bad position once again, punting out of their own endzone. Brady Buell couldn’t get the snap, and Wisconsin couldn’t corral the fumble in the endzone, resulting in a safety.
Wisconsin would get the ball back on the safety kickoff and drive down the field in just under five minutes for another Taylor touchdown, this time from two yards in. After an exchange of punts, CMU looked to take advantage of a shanked punt that placed the Chippewas at the Badger 41. It wasn’t meant to be, as Quinten Dormady threw an interception on third down to kill the drive.
Dormady was pulled after the series, finishing his day at 5-of-12 for 36 yards and that interception. His replacements, Memphis transfer via JUCO David Moore and part-time 2018 starter Tommy Lazzaro didn’t do much better, as the passing offense combined for 43 yards.
Jonathan Taylor would get two more touchdowns on the ensuing drives, one on the ground and one through the air, before his backup Nakia Watson joined in on the fun with a three-yard score of his own with 6:38 left to go in the second quarter to put the score to 30-0.
Quintez Cephus, back on the Wisconsin roster after being found not guilty of a sexual assault allegation and being expelled from campus, found his stride on the next two Wisconsin drives, hauling in 36 and 46-yard touchdowns, respecively, against CMU corner Norman Anderson.
All that action put the score at 44-0 at halftime, but Wisconsin brought out their starters once again for the third quarter, securing Taylor one more running touchdown from two yards out to put his total numbers at 22 touches for 119 yards and four touchdowns.
Wisconsin would add on one more touchdown drive with second-and-third stringers, marching down the field for a 14-play, 75 yard drive which ended with a Garrett Groshek touchdown run, to put the total time of possession at that lasted eight minutes and 10 seconds.
Jack Coan finished the day going 26-of-33 for 363 yards and three touchdowns in his second start of the season, while 11 different Badgers tallied at least one reception, with Quintez Cephus leading the way (six receptions, 130 yards, two touchdowns.)
Wisconsin was wildly efficient, converting 11-of-13 third-down plays, while committing only one penalty on the day. The Badgers also held the ball for 39 minutes and 27 seconds, as the Chippewas only eclipsed the 2:30 possession time mark twice, with their last drive accounting for four minutes and eight seconds and securing no points.
In the process, CMU became the second victim of a nasty defensive streak, as Wisconsin will carry a 110-0 points allowed-to-points-against mark going into their game with 7th-ranked Michigan next Saturday.
The Chips, on the day, managed three first downs with a measly 58 yards of offense after 60 minutes of football. Moore went 3-of-11 in relief of Dormady, while Lazarro completed his only pass attempt and led all rushers with 11 yards on four carries.
Kalil Pimpleton (three receptions, 18 yards) and Tony Poljan (two receptions for two yards) were the only Chippewas to make more than one reception. For perspective, freshman walk-on Adam Jones, son of former CMU coach Butch Jones, finished third on the team with one eight-yard catch.
It was a bizarre day for the Chips, who pulled their starting quarterback after the fourth drive of the game while the score was still relatively attainable and pulled their star running back Jonathan Ward after the first series with no official explanation.
It’s made all the more bizarre by a relatively bodacious comment head coach Jim McElwain put out on his Thursday radio show. “Look they have no idea what’s coming,” McElwain said per Central Michigan Life’s Evan Petzold. “I feel really good about these guys and the preparation.” The Big Ten Network also reported in-game that CMU was gameplanning to play two or three different quarterbacks, so suffice to say that the Chips’ performance was flummoxing.
It was a harsh dose of reality for the Chippewa faithful after a high-scoring win against Albany on Thursday, and will leave many questions about the team’s composition moving forward, as CMU will prepare for an early conference game against the Akron Zips (0-2.)
That game will be played at Kelly/Shorts Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 3:00 p.m., with TV/streaming services provided by ESPN+.