Play of the game
Going to go with T.J. Edwards’s late second-quarter interception that led to the 29-yard, game-tying field goal by Rafael Gagalinone at the half. That evened up the score heading into the third quarter.
Wisconsin turned the tide defensively in that second quarter, only allowing 10 yards in those 15 minutes. The offense finally got on track with their 15-play, 79-yard drive that ate up 8:25 of the clock. Rather than trying to run out the clock, as Utah State used all of its timeouts before, quarterback Kent Myers threw a pass over the middle, which was deflected up into Edwards’s hands to give possession back to the Badgers.
You always got to be ready for the “tip drill.” Edwards was, and he seemed to fly around the field on Friday night. He ended the evening with seven tackles, one for loss, with the interception and two pass break-ups.
Honorable mentions: Jonathan Taylor’s 41-yard run to open the second half, Joe Ferguson’s 99-yard interception return for a touchdown, Danny Davis’ three-person block
Inside linebacker T.J. Edwards — for the stats noted above
Quarterback Alex Hornibrook — completed 15-of-23 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions. Fun stat time: Wisconsin had nine “chunk” passing plays that went over 15 yards, four of them over 23 yards. If there aren’t three (unofficial) drops by Jazz Peavy, A.J. Taylor and Jonathan Taylor, his statistics may even be better. It’s the first time a UW quarterback has thrown for three touchdown passes since Joel Stave did so against Miami (Ohio) in September 2015.
Tight end Troy Fumagalli—wearing Jack Cichy’s number, he delivered with five catches for a career-high 105 yards and the go-ahead touchdown. He also reeled in a career-long 44 yard reception in the fourth quarter. Nice start to the season.
Running back Jonathan Taylor—can’t start your career off better than leading the team in rushing and sparking a second half blowout than what the New Jersey native did.
Tip of the cap (honorable mention) to wide receiver Danny Davis. He didn’t catch a pass, but he made plays happen for the offense. He attacked the ball in the passing game, drawing a pass interference call. Of course, he blocked multiple players on Zander Neuville’s 28-yard touchdown reception. Looking back on the play, he essentially blocks three players allowing the tight end to hit the sideline.
- Team captains were Fumagalli and fellow seniors Natrell Jamerson, Alec James and Jazz Peavy.
- Attendance for the game: 75,324
- UW has now achieved a victory in its home opener 22 straight times. That dates back to 1996.
- The 59 points are the most scored in the Paul Chryst era as head coach.
- It took the Badgers only four minutes, 52 seconds between the second and third quarters to rack up 24 unanswered points against Utah after previously trailing 10-0.
- Jim Leonhard’s defense registered four turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble recovery). All led to points (24).
- Despite all the attention about Jonathan Taylor, redshirt sophomore Bradrick Shaw rushed for a career-high 84 yards on 18 carries.
- Four current or former walk-ons scored touchdowns on Friday night. That included Fumagalli, Neuville, Ferguson and redshirt freshman running back Garrett Groshek. The latter’s 23-yard touchdown capped UW’s scoring for the evening in the 59-10 win.
- Also in a game of firsts, defensive end Isaiahh Loudermilk recorded his first career sack—the only one registered by Wisconsin’s defense in the game.
- Five true freshman—Taylor, Davis, long snapper Adam Bay, cornerback Madison Cone and quarterback Jack Coan—all debuted for Wisconsin against Utah State.
What to Watch for This Weekend
- Every other Big Ten Conference game this weekend. As of this writing, Maryland is almost ending Tom Herman’s honeymoon in Texas during his coaching debut, and Iowa containing Wyoming quarterback and potential NFL first-round pick Josh Allen.
- After the morning games, Florida and Michigan should be interesting, especially considering the Gators’ recent suspensions.
- Time with family and friends. Enjoy grilling out, spending time with loved ones, and of course, being responsible.