MADISON – Michigan State tried to replicate everything it’d seen on film to slow down the University of Wisconsin football team’s offense.
The Spartans crowded the line of scrimmage with defenders to slow down Wisconsin’s star tailback Jonathan Taylor, and played tight man coverage against their receivers. But the Badgers’ receivers and junior quarterback Jack Coan were up to the challenge on Saturday.
The receivers consistently won one-on-one matchups, the defense continued to be dominant on third down and aggressive play-calling from Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst paid off, extending drives as the Badgers wore down MSU’s defense.
Despite keeping Taylor in check, No. 8 Wisconsin maintained control throughout and came away with a 38-0 victory at Camp Randall Stadium. That’s the Badgers’ fourth shutout of the season, the most it’s had since 1930.
Coan finished 18 of 20 passing, including 14 of 16 in the first half, with 180 yards and a touchdown. Taylor scored two touchdowns and rushed for 80 yards.
Junior receiver Quintez Cephus hauled in Coan’s first scoring toss in the second quarter after tipping the ball with his left hand first, then his right hand, before pinning it onto his chest for a 19-yard touchdown. It was his first score since a blowout win over Central Michigan.
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Coan almost had a scoring pass earlier in the half. Wisconsin (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) went for the conversion on a fourth down at the Michigan State 29, but sophomore tight end and former Memorial standout Jake Ferguson tripped after hauling in a play-action pass and was marked down at the 1. Taylor stretched the ball across the goal line on the next play for the score.
Taylor scored twice, both on 1-yard plunges, but was held to 80 yards on 26 carries.
The Badgers’ defense, which came into the game with the best third-down defense in Division I football, continued its dominance in that realm. MSU converted two of 14 third-down tries, and senior quarterback Brian Lewerke never found a rhythm.
The Spartans (4-3, 1-2) faked a punt on their opening drive of the second half, which gave them a much-needed spark after trailing 17-0 at half. It extended what was MSU’s longest drive, but the defense stiffed up as it neared the red zone. Back-to-back sacks from Chris Orr and Isaiahh Loudermilk, then an illegal substitution penalty, pushed MSU out of field-goal range and forced another punt.
UW’s defense added …read more
Source:: Daily Times