Badgers football: Wisconsin overcomes turnovers, penalties to stay unbeaten with win over Maryland
While perhaps more comfortable than the rest, the University of Wisconsin’s 38-13 victory over Maryland at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday didn’t look all that different from the Badgers’ previous three Big Ten games this season.
Fifth-ranked UW appeared the much better team on paper, but first-half turnovers and penalties still left plenty to be desired against an underwhelming conference opponent.
The Badgers defense, however, came through once again to ensure UW eased to a 7-0 record with the College Football Playoff race set to heat up in the coming weeks.
Inside linebacker T.J. Edwards returned an interception 54 yards for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive and minimized the offense’s biggest miscue later in the first quarter — when running back Jonathan Taylor lost a fumble inside his own 5-yard line.
Maryland (3-4, 1-3) gained zero yards on the three ensuing plays, though, forcing the Terrapins into a 23-yard field goal.
It was Taylor that capped off the next drive with a 3-yard touchdown to put the Badgers ahead 14-3 with 10 minutes, 2 seconds left in the second quarter.
After entering the game with 986 rushing yards this season, Taylor tied the FBS record for fewest games needed to reach 1,000 rushing yards by a freshman. He finished Saturday’s game with 126 yards on 22 carries.
Prior to Taylor’s fumble, on the Badgers’ first offensive drive of the game, quarterback Alex Hornibrook sailed a pass over wide receiver A.J. Taylor’s head, leading to his sixth interception in four Big Ten games.
Hornibrook bounced back to finish 16 of 24 for 225 yards and two touchdowns. He threw an eight-yard score to tight end Zander Neuville in the final minute of the first half to give UW a 21-3 lead and opened the second half with an 18-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Taylor.
Maryland tallied 10 points over its next two drives, but Austin Ramesh scored a 1-yard touchdown run with 9:10 remaining to put UW ahead with 9:10 remaining, and Rafael Gaglianone added a late field goal.