Wisconsin 34, WKU 3: Everything Worked Just Fine

Wisconsin 34, WKU 3: Everything Worked Just Fine

Football

Wisconsin 34, WKU 3: Everything Worked Just Fine

MADISON – Given its highest preseason ranking in school history, No.7/No.4 Wisconsin did little to detract the voters who instilled their confidence in them.

Sophomore Jonathan Taylor scored two touchdowns and rushed for over 100 yards in the first half to provide the scoring punch, but the Badgers’ new-look defense stole the show with a stellar performance in a 34-3 victory over Western Kentucky Friday night.

It was the 23rd consecutive season-opening home win for fourth-ranked Wisconsin, who only were ranked as the preseason No.4 team once before in the Associated Press poll (2000).

Having to replace seven starters on a defense that was one of the best nationally last season, the Badgers had little problems with an equally-rebuilding Hilltoppers. Going against an offense that averaged 335.0 passing yards last season, UW and its three new secondary starters held the Hilltoppers to 291 yards, no touchdowns, four three-and-outs and 1-for-3 in the red zone with two forced turnovers.

That kind of performance was more than enough for Wisconsin’s offense and Taylor, who picked up right where he left off in 2017 when he finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting. His 47-yard and 30-yard touchdown runs were a mix of speed, power and tackle breaking. The fumbles are still a problem, however, as Taylor lost his seventh career fumble early in the third quarter.

Junior quarterback Alex Hornibrook – now 21-3 as a starter – finished 17-for-29 for 257 yards and two scores. Most importantly, he didn’t commit a turnover and spread the ball around, completing passes to seven different receivers.

Wisconsin’s three-game homestand to open the season continues with an 11 a.m. kickoff against New Mexico on Saturday, September 8.

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