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Jonathan Taylor Guides No. 13 Wisconsin to 24-22 Win over No. 18 Iowa

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIINovember 10, 2019

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor celebrates a touchdown against Michigan State during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin won 38-0. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
Andy Manis/Associated Press

The No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers topped the visiting No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes 24-22 Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall Stadium.

Iowa was trailing 21-6 entering the fourth quarter and cut the deficit to 21-16. Wisconsin got the ball back with just under 9:30 remaining in regulation and killed any momentum the Hawkeyes had behind 58 yards from running back Jonathan Taylor. The drive resulted in a field goal to extend the lead to 24-16.

Iowa answered right away with a 75-yard touchdown pass from Nate Stanley to Tyrone Tracy Jr. However, Stanley failed to convert what would have been the game-tying two-point conversion. Taylor bled the clock on the Badgers' ensuing possession to seal the win for Wisconsin, highlighted by a 42-yard run.

Big Ten Network @BigTenNetwork

Jonathan Taylor rushed for a lot of yards (250) today, with Ron Dayne in the house. https://t.co/G7Fu4Sk6Q9

It was a necessary win for the Badgers, who had lost two straight coming into the contest. Most recently, on Oct. 26, No. 3 Ohio State routed them 38-7.

Iowa also hadn't played since Oct. 26, but the Hawkeyes had conversely won two games in a row entering Saturday.

This result was most consequential to the Big Ten standings as No. 17 Minnesota remained undefeated by upsetting No. 4 Penn State earlier in the day. Minnesota sits atop the conference's West division, while Wisconsin took over sole possession of second by improving to 7-2 and dropping Iowa to 6-3.

     

Notable Stats

Wisconsin

RB Jonathan Taylor: 31 carries, 250 yards; 1 catch, 8 yards

QB Jack Coan: 173 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT

WR Danny Davis III: 4 catches, 19 yards, 1 TD; 1 carry, 17 yards, 1 TD

WR Quintez Cephus: 5 catches, 94 yards, 1 TD

        

Iowa

QB Nate Stanley: 208 yards, 2 TD

RB Toren Young: 9 carries, 44 yards

WR Tyrone Tracy Jr.: 5 catches, 130 yards, 1 TD

WR Nico Ragaini: 6 catches, 32 yards, 1 TD

     

Jonathan Taylor Bounces Back from Ohio State Performance

The Badgers junior running back was held to a season-low 52 yards two weeks ago when No. 3 Ohio State pummeled Wisconsin 38-7. Taylor doubled that by halftime when he entered the locker room with 107 rushing yards already against Iowa and finished the contest with a season-high 250 yards.

Taylor's proficiency has come to be expected, as he has notched at least 100 yards on the ground in seven games this season while tallying his other 200-yard game on Sept. 21 with 203 yards against Michigan. However, what Taylor accomplished against the Hawkeyes defense wasn't a given:

Zach Heilprin @ZachHeilprin

Iowa came in allowing 87.5 yards per game on the ground. The #Badgers have 137 in the first half, including 107 from Jonathan Taylor.

Prior to the game against Wisconsin, Iowa's defense hadn't allowed a run of 20 yards or more all season. Taylor had two of the kind—one for 36 yards and another for 42.

Dave Heller @dave_heller

Iowa had allowed more than 120 yards of rushing in *a game* just once. https://t.co/KSwgvsaSpE

All together, it marked the 29th 100-yard rushing game of Taylor's Wisconsin career, according to Brian Mason of the team's communications department, good for second-most in program history to Ron Dayne's 33. Taylor's 10 games of 200 rushing yards or more are the most in FBS since 2017, per the Fox broadcast.

Taylor did surpass a different college football legend, though:

Dave Heller @dave_heller

Jonathan Taylor passed LaDainian Tomlinson for 12th place for most rushing yards in FBS history (since 1956). #Badgers

Dayne was in attendance at the game. The former Wisconsin running back captured the 1999 Heisman Trophy. Taylor was tapped in the earlier stages of this season as a Heisman candidate who could challenge Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, but the likes of LSU quarterback Joe Burrow has since overshadowed him.

According to Westgate Sportsbook (h/t Action Network's Steve Petrella), Taylor's Heisman odds dropped from 14-1 on Sept. 22 to 100-1 on Nov. 4. Tagovailoa and Burrow top the table at 3-1 and 6-5, first and third respectively.

Taylor showed Saturday why he deserves to remain in the Heisman conversation despite the unlikelihood that he'll actually take home the hardware. What feels more likely is Taylor repeating as the Doak Walker Award winner, given to the country's top college football running back.

Entering Week 11, Taylor was tied for fourth among all FBS running backs in rushing touchdowns (15) and ranked 10th in yards (1,009). Following his 250 yards against Iowa, Taylor's season totals have bumped to 1,214 yards and 15 touchdowns.

     

What's Next?

The Badgers will look to piece together back-to-back victories when they travel to Nebraska next Saturday.

The Hawkeyes have a much less enviable task, as they will host the undefeated No. 17 Minnesota Golden Gophers next Saturday.

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