The No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers earned their biggest win of the 2019 season to date by knocking off the 11th-ranked Michigan Wolverines 35-14 at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday.
After outscoring South Florida and Central Michigan 110-0 in the first two games, Wisconsin was given a stern test in its Big Ten opener. The Wolverines picked apart the Badgers in a 38-13 win at the Big House last year.
Jonathan Taylor ran through Michigan's defense with 143 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries in the first quarter. The Heisman hopeful didn't play in the second quarter because of cramps but returned in the second half.
On the other hand, Michigan remains a mess on offense. Shea Patterson went 5-of-14 before being replaced by Dylan McCaffrey in the second quarter. McCaffrey was knocked out of the game in the third quarter and was taken to the locker room for evaluation.
- Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor: 23 rushes, 203 yards and two touchdowns
- Wisconsin QB Jack Coan: 13-of-16 for 128 yards and two rushing touchdowns
- Wisconsin WR Quintez Cephus: 2 receptions, 36 yards
- Michigan QB Shea Patterson: 14-of-32 for 219 yards, two touchdowns and one interception
- Michigan RB Christian Turner: 6 rushes, 17 yards
- Michigan QB Dylan McCaffrey: 3-of-8 for 40 yards
Dynamic Wisconsin Offense Steamrolls Michigan
Taylor was the clear standout in Wisconsin's win. The junior sensation vaulted himself into the Heisman conversation by running for more yards in the first quarter Saturday than he did in either of this season's first two games.
The early-season Heisman race has been dominated by quarterbacks. Taylor is the only non-quarterback among the top seven betting favorites:
Even though Michigan hasn't looked like the playoff contender it was expected to be when the season started, Taylor's performance in limited action at least provides a shake-up to the awards race.
From a team perspective, quarterback Jack Coan looks like the key piece for the Badgers in 2019. The junior has been perfect for this offense thanks to his efficiency and ability to make plays down the field with his arm and legs.
The reviews for Coan, who entered Saturday completing 85.7 percent of his passes and averaged 8.4 yards per attempt, are raving about his capabilities:
Last year was often frustrating for Wisconsin because the offense relied almost exclusively on Taylor. Alex Hornibrook had 1,532 passing yards and 13 total touchdowns over nine games in 2018.
Coan has 692 passing yards and seven total touchdowns through the first three games this season.
If the Badgers have a quarterback who opposing teams have to plan for, they are going to be a top contender for the Big Ten title and a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Harbaugh, Michigan Fail in Spotlight Again
For a head coach who has won 10 games in three of the past four seasons at Michigan, Jim Harbaugh's tenure remains a great source of frustration for what he hasn't done with the program.
Specifically, the Wolverines on the road against ranked opponents are now 1-6 since Harbaugh took over in 2015. They've allowed 97 points in their last two conference road games dating back to last year's regular-season finale at Ohio State.
It's not a surprise that Harbaugh was catching a lot of heat for Michigan's lackluster showing Saturday:
There are bigger problems at Michigan outside of Harbaugh. The team entered this week ranked 67th nationally in rushing yards (170.5 per game) and tied for 78th in passing yards (226.0).
Quarterback continues to be a significant problem, whether it's Patterson or McCaffrey under center.
This season has been a struggle in every conceivable way for the Wolverines, and it could get worse with ranked opponents like Iowa, Penn State and Notre Dame on the schedule in October.
Michigan will return home to take on Rutgers next Saturday. Wisconsin will stay at Camp Randall to host Northwestern on Saturday.