MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Jonathan Taylor had four rushing touchdowns and caught a TD pass, Zack Baun had a career-high three sacks, and the eighth-ranked Badgers coasted to a 48-0 win over Kent State on Saturday.
Taylor had 19 rushes for 186 yards, eclipsing the 100-yard mark for the 27th time in 32 career games with the Badgers (5-0).
Baun’s three sacks led a Wisconsin defense that pitched its third shutout of the season. The Badgers, who entered the day with the nation’s top-ranked defense, held Kent State (2-3) to 124 yards of total offense. Chris Orr, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Northwestern, added two sacks for a unit that has allowed four touchdowns through five games.
Dustin Crum and Woody Barrett combined for just 64 yards on 10-of-17 passing. Most of those yards came on a 28-yard completion to receiver Raymond James.
The Golden Flashes, coached by former Wisconsin quarterback and tight end Sean Lewis, have played two ranked opponents this season and been outscored 103-16 in those matchups. Kent State lost to then-No. 8 Auburn 55-16 on Sept. 14.
Taylor scored from 6 yards on the opening drive. The junior running back now has a touchdown on each of the Badgers’ five opening drives this season. Wisconsin is the only team in the FBS to open each game with a touchdown.
Taylor scored four first-half touchdowns before the Golden Flashes had their third first down. Taylor also crossed the goal line on 19-, 4- and 48-yard runs. Taylor and quarterback Jack Coan linked up for an 18-yard score that made it 28-0 at halftime.
Caon, who won his seventh straight start, finished 12 for 15 with 134 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Jake Ferguson was on the receiving end of the junior’s other touchdown. Their 2-yard score made it 41-0 with 8:01 left in the third quarter. Receiver Jack Dunn added the final score on a 3-yard run in the fourth.
With 4,916 career yards rushing, Taylor is now in third place on Wisconsin’s all-time rushing list. Montee Ball (2009-12) is second with 5,140 yards. Taylor still has a way to go before catching the 7,125 yards posted by Ron Dayne (1996-99). Taylor continues to show why he deserves to be near the top of the list of Heisman Trophy contenders. The 2018 Doak Walker Award winner already has 16 touchdowns this season. That’s the most by any FBS player in his team’s first five games since Ricky Williams had 20 for Texas in 1998. Williams won the Heisman that season.
Minimal. The Badgers were a 36-point favorite against the Golden Flashes. Wisconsin did what it was supposed to do against an inferior Mid-American Conference opponent.
Kent State: plays Akron on the road Oct. 12.
Wisconsin: hosts No. 25 Michigan State on Oct. 12
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