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FULL RECAP: No. 8 Wisconsin flashes signs of brilliance, shuts out Kent State, to improve to 5-0 on the season

This is the first time since 1937 that Wisconsin has had three shutouts in a season.

@B5QPhotos; Matt Fleming

MADISON, WIS. - The No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers (5-0, 2-0 B1G), shutout Kent State (2-3, 1-0 MAC), 48-0 behind a big game from their Heisman candidate and their top-ranked defense.

Wisconsin started off the game, as it has every other game this season, with a Jonathan Taylor touchdown.

Taylor took the final carry of Wisconsin’s 9-play, 68 yard opening drive, six yards to pay dirt, bouncing to the right behind the Hippo formation.

However, Taylor was not done there, as he scored on five consecutive drives in total and three more times in the first half, as Wisconsin took a 28-0 lead into halftime.

In the first half, Taylor scored on rushes from 19 yards, four yards and tallied a 18-yard receiving touchdown.

He then opened the second half for Wisconsin, scoring on a 48-yard rush. This score would tie the school record for touchdowns in a single game.

@B5QPhotos; Matt Fleming

Taylor although would not return to the game following his fifth score, finishing with 19 carries for 186 yards and three receptions for 29 yards.

This was Taylor’s 27th career game with 100 or more rushing yards. Taylor also moved into third place all-time at Wisconsin, with 4,916 yards, passing Melvin Gordon.

Taylor has done so in less than two and a half seasons.

Jack Coan put his game against Northwestern behind him, completing 12 of 15 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns.

Aside from his touchdown pass to Taylor, Coan also connected with tight end Jake Ferguson, for his first touchdown of the season, which was the first touchdown of the game for Wisconsin not scored by Taylor.

@B5QPhotos; Matt Fleming

Coan was spelled by Graham Mertz, who took over in the third quarter and finished the game. This was Mertz’s second collegiate game.

Mertz finished the game 5 of 5 for 38 yards and led a touchdown drive.

Wisconsin’s final score of the game, was scored by Jack Dunn who took a jet sweep three yards into the end zone.

Defensively, Wisconsin limited the Golden Flashes all game, holding them to total 124 yards in the shut out.

This was the second time this season that Wisconsin has held an opponent under 100 passing yards and the fifth time in as many games that Wisconsin has held an opponent under 100 rushing yards.

In just five games during the 2019 season, the top-ranked Badgers defense has recorded three shutouts and is allowing just 5.8 points per game on the season.

This is also the first time, since 1937, that Wisconsin has recorded three shut outs in a single season.

Aiding the shutout was Wisconsin’s ability to prevent third-down conversions. Wisconsin held Kent State to 2-of-11 on third down. Coming into the game, Wisconsin has allowed opponents to convert just 15.5 percent of their third-down conversions, which ranked them tops in the nation.

Wisconsin got to the quarterback repeatedly, sacking the quarterback nine times, with three players recording multiple sacks.

Chris Orr followed up his Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors, by recording two sacks for the second week in a row. Prior to last week, Orr had zero sacks on the season.

Baun recorded three sacks, bringing his season-total to six, Jack Sanborn added two of his own and Leo Chenal added one.

Chenal also recovered a fumble, when Golden Flashes back-up quarterback, Woody Barrett cocked back to pass and had the ball slip out of his hand. Chenal picked it up and returned it 14 yards.

Kent State v Wisconsin Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Had Chenal not had a hard time gathering the ball, he could have scored Wisconsin’s fourth defensive touchdown of the season. Through five games, the Wisconsin defense has scored 23 points and has only allowed 29.

Wisconsin was also given a team sack, on Chenal’s fumble recovery.

Kent State came close to taking away Wisconsin’s shutout, on a 52-yard field goal attempt by Matthew Trickett in the third quarter. Trickett’s kick came up just short, as it hit the cross bar and bounced back into the field of play.

Wisconsin only failed to score on three drives in the victory. One of which was the final drive of the game. Wisconsin also punted once in the game, after punting nine times in the win over Northwestern.

Wisconsin tallied 520 yards of offense against the Golden Flashes, 348 of which coming of rushes. The Badgers also went 11 of 15 on third-downs and 1 of 1 on fourth-down.

Wisconsin will host the No. 25 Michigan State Spartans (currently 4-1, 2-0 B1G) next Saturday, Oct. 12 at 2:30 p.m. CT. As of the time of posting, the Spartans had yet to get under way against the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0, 2-0 B1G) on Oct. 5.