The No. 5 Wisconsin Badgers celebrated homecoming Saturday as a young, not-exactly-terrible Maryland Terrapins team came to Camp Randall. The Badgers handled the Terps, coming away with a 38-13 victory.
Here are the unit grades.
A week after Purdue nearly pulled off the upset due to Wisconsin’s offensive errors, this game started with more of the same. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook airmailed an interception to Maryland’s Josh Woods to kill the first drive. Running back Jonathan Taylor fumbled on the first play of Wisconsin’s next drive, giving the ball back to the Terps deep in Badgers territory.
After the first quarter, the offense looked much better. Hornibrook finished the game 16-of-24 for 225 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor continued his stellar freshman year with 128 yards and a touchdown.
Four different Badgers scored touchdowns, including unusual suspects tight end Zander Neuville and fullback Austin Ramesh. Tight end Troy Fumagalli (seven catches for 83 yards) was a safety net. Sophomore receiver A.J. Taylor had 41 yards and a touchdown.
The defense was all over the Terps from the go. For the second time in three games, the Badgers’ defense snared a pick-six on the opponent’s opening drive when linebacker T.J. Edwards took a tipped Max Bortenschlager pass 54 yards for a touchdown.
PICK 6. This Badger cannot be caged. pic.twitter.com/PYtc4skTG2— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 21, 2017
The Badgers stood tall late after Taylor’s first-quarter fumble, holding Maryland to only a field goal after the Terps started deep inside the Wisconsin zone.
Maryland only found the end zone in the third quarter after a Nick Nelson unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave the Terps the ball inside Wisconsin’s 10-yard line. Nelson and the secondary otherwise looked great. The Badgers kept star Maryland receiver D.J. Moore in check all day long, holding him to just three catches for 44 yards.
Wisconsin limited maryland to 268 yards of offense and sacked Bortenschlager twice.
Special Teams: C
Kicker Rafael Gaglianone went 1-for-2, including a badly-missed 39-yard field goal try at the end of the first half. Punter Anthony Lotti had just one punt, a weak 26-yarder that was almost blocked at the end of the third quarter that led to a Maryland field goal. Kick-off specialist Zach Hintze put four of seven kick-offs into the end zone.
Senior safety Joe Ferguson recovered a fumbled Maryland kick return late in the second quarter.
It was another slow start for Wisconsin on offense, but things tightened up from the second quarter on.
Penalties remain a problem, particularly on the offensive line. Momentum was killed on several occasions, including a Beau Benzschawel hold that brought back a Taylor touchdown in the second quarter.
The Badgers got the results they were looking for against a Maryland team starting its third-string quarterback.
The defense continues to look dominant. It was good to see the offense clean up the mistakes after a concerning first quarter. Both units should have a chance to do some damage next week on the road against Illinois.