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Wisconsin football: Badgers stampede USF in 2019 opener

Badgers shutout Bulls behind Jonathan Taylor and a stout defensive performance.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at South Florida Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Neither the University of South Florida (0-1, 0-0 AAC), nor the weather could stop the No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers football team in the 2019 season opener.

Following a 55-minute weather delay, Wisconsin scored on their opening drive, and never relinquished the lead, en route to a 49-0 victory.

Jonathan Taylor was the driving force for Wisconsin (1-0, 0-0 B1G) on the night, racking up 183 total yards and four touchdowns. Taylor rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns and scored on both of his receptions, totaling 48 yards.

Three of his scores went for 30+ yards.

Wisconsin receiver Quintez Cephus played in his first game since 2017 and finished with three receptions for 39 yards, including the first catch of the night, which converted a third down on Wisconsin’s opening drive, setting up Taylor’s first score of the night, a 37 yard rushing touchdown.

Defensive lineman Matt Henningsen provided Wisconsin’s second score, on a 16-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. The fumble was forced by Zack Baun, who finished the night with three solo tackles, one for loss.

Like Cephus, running back Bradrick Shaw played in his first game since the 2017 season and scored Wisconsin’s final touchdown of the game.

Freshman Nakia Watson also added a touchdown.

Wisconsin’s defense showed signs of a return to being a top-tier collegiate defense, limiting USF to 157 total yards, eight punts and three turnovers.

The Bulls finished with 26 yards on the ground on 23 carries, good for a 1.1 yard average.

USF first crossed midfield on their final drive of the night, which ended with a missed 43-yard field goal.

Jack Coan who began his first season as Wisconsin’s starting quarterback finished 19-26 for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Coan was later replaced by Chase Wolf, who laid a key block in springing Shaw for his touchdown.

Wisconsin will host Central Michigan next Saturday, Sept. 7 for their home opener.