The Wisconsin Badgers didn't look like the team we expected to see in the first half of Friday night's opening matchup against Utah State. The Badgers trailed 10-0 with less than two minutes to play in the first half, but a late touchdown and turnover tied the game before the break and the Badgers in total scored 59 unanswered points to win the game.
For the Badgers, the comeback was simply the better team proving it despite a slow start. To get there, though, they needed the help from some of the many young players on the squad, including a true freshman running back who showed why the coaching staff is so excited to get him on the field.
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Jonathan Taylor, a true freshman running back out of Salem, New Jersey, opened the year as one of three starters listed at running back. The new RB definitely had a connection to Wisconsin coming in — he broke Corey Clement's single-season south Jersey rushing record.
He got off to a strong start for the Badgers, too, leading all rushers in the game with nine carries for 87 yards and a touchdown — a run he needed to get creative to finish:
— Zach Stratton (@Zach_Stratton29) September 2, 2017
He also flashed his abilities on this 41-yard scamper:
Jonathan Taylor's 41-yard run vs Utah State. pic.twitter.com/AuzilV5Lb4
— Fusue Vue (@lifesyourcup) September 2, 2017
Taylor showed the future of the Wisconsin running back position is looking good for awhile. And the best part is, the Badgers don't need to rely on him early.
Bradrick Shaw, a sophomore, was solid with 18 carries for 84 yards and a score. Chris James, a junior Pitt transfer, didn't get as many opportunities (5 carries, 15 yards) but is expected to be in the mix this year. Wisconsin ran for a combined 234 yards on 45 carries (5.2 yards per carry) and scored four touchdowns. (Senior fullback Austin Ramesh pounded in a short TD run and redshirt freshman Garrett Groshek scampered for a late 23-yard score).
The Badgers offensive line, too, is loaded with young and inexperienced players. They'll continue to get better as the season goes on, and it was clear the group got off to a rough start Friday night.
Taylor certainly looks like the real deal for the Badgers. It will be exciting to see the young player against better competition as the season goes on.