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Badgers run over Huskers 41-24

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Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. – Nebraska came into its game at No. 16 Wisconsin as heavy underdogs, and while the Huskers kept things close early, the game played out exactly as most expected.

Despite only trailing 20-10 early in the third quarter, NU couldn’t hold up on either side of the ball as the night wore on and the Badgers ended up cruising to a 41-24 win.

Running back Jonathan Taylor had a monster night with 23 carries for 216 yards and three touchdowns to help UW rack up 42 points and more than 500 yards of offense.

Quarterback Adrian Martinez accounted for 431 yards of total offense and three touchdowns and receiver J.D. Spielman caught nine passes for 209 yards and a score, helping Nebraska put up a whopping 513 yards of offense.

But the Badgers still managed to control the game throughout and dropped the Huskers to a dismal 0-5 on the season, tying for the worst start in program history (1945).

Wisconsin opened the game with a physical and methodical 15-play drive that ate up nearly eight minutes but only ended up with a 30-yard field goal by Rafael Gaglianone.

That score held into the second quarter before Gaglianone knocked in his second field goal of the night to make a 6-0 Badger lead.

Nebraska’s offense finally got something going on its third series, putting together a 10-play drive of its own and marching down to the UW 14 before settling for a 31-yard field goal by Barret Pickering with 9:55 left in the second.

The Blackshirts’ bend-but-don’t-break defense finally broke on the ensuing possession. Taylor dove into the end zone from three yards out to finish off a 64-yard scoring drive and make it 13-3.

Needing to answer, the Huskers got some momentum going again and drove down to the Wisconsin 31. But two costly penalties killed the drive and led to a turnover on downs.

Wisconsin quickly took advantage with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Alex Hornibrook to Jake Ferguson that pushed the lead to 20-3 going into halftime.

The Badgers ended up running 41 plays and held a 19:08-10:52 edge in time of possession. Nebraska, on the other hand, managed 29 rushing yards with 60 yards in penalties.

After a frustrating first half, Nebraska started the third quarter off with a bang when Martinez connected with Spielman for a 75-yard touchdown. The score pulled NU back to within 20-10 and marked the Huskers’ longest play of the season.

The rally didn’t last long, though, as Wisconsin quickly answered with a seven-play, 71-yard drive and scored on a 23-yard touchdown by Taylor to go back up 27-10 with 11:04 left in the third.

Nebraska moved the ball into UW territory on its next drive but gave it right back to the Badgers with a costly Martinez fumble. Taiwan Neal turned that into a 20-yard touchdown run that broke the game open at 34-10.

A 38-yard pass to Spielman led to a 12-yard touchdown toss to tight end Jack Stoll with 4:20 left in the third to keep things interesting, but Taylor again put an end to that with an 88-yard scoring scamper that made it 41-17 with 12:50 to play.

Martinez scrambled in from seven yards out to make it 41-24, but that would be as close as Nebraska would get.

The Huskers will be on the road again next week for an 11 a.m. kickoff at Northwestern.