PLYMOUTH, MINN. — While his wife sat on the couch in the living room having a late night wine happy hour, via Skype, with her mother, Drew took to the joysticks and ground out a non-conference, virtual victory for the No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers (1-0 overall) over the Central Michigan Chippewas (0-1 overall).
It was not a pretty game and the teams went into halftime with a combined ::double checks notes:: zero points and 170 yards of offense.
Quarterback Jack Coan struggled mightily in the first half, completing only three of nine passes for 20 yards and also throwing his first interception of the young season. Heisman contender Jonathan Taylor couldn’t get anything going on the ground either, as the Badgers rushed for 68 yards on 20 carries.
Early in the third quarter, when it looked like another Badgers drive was going to stall, John Chenal took the rock on third and short and barged down the sidelines into the redzone to get Wisconsin in business.
A little sneak preview of Week 2 against Central Michigan. @JohnChenal rumbling for 50+ on 3rd and short. Sorry for showing such sexy footage on the TL in the morning. #Badgers #NCAA14 pic.twitter.com/cgQ0laVaM5— Bucky’s 5th Quarter (@B5Q) March 19, 2020
After Chenal’s masterclass in fullbacking, Taylor got in the endzone twice in the third quarter to put Wisconsin up 14-0 and all seemed right with the world. Because, while the Badgers offense had been dreadful in the first half the defense had been the exact opposite. They had contained CMU to only 82 total yards after all!
But, after Taylor’s second TD and just before the Great Student Section Race kicked off, Quentin Dormady and the Chips marched right down the field and cut the lead in half and made it so the fans had to stay after Jump Around.
Under a minute into the fourth quarter Taylor found pay dirt again and salted this game away for the Badgers. Chenal added an insurance touchdown with just over a minute left in the game to make it look like more of a dominant win than it really was.
An ugly game for Coan, that will probably have fans clamoring for the redshirt to be removed from Graham Mertz or for Chase Wolf to be inserted in the starting lineup didn’t get any better in the second half.
Taylor ended up with a decent stat line, but most probably weren’t expecting to have him still in the game during the fourth quarter. Coan was able to show his running ability a bit on a 13-yard scamper.
With Coan having an off day, no one really stood out receiving the ball, however, Taylor did take a screen pass 54 yards.
Chris Orr was all over the field against Central Michigan, recording 12 tackles with two of them being behind the line of scrimmage. Jack Sanborn also made his presence felt with a sack and two TFL, while Rachad Wildgoose forced the only turnover of the game for UW with an interception in the second half.
All in all, a pretty substandard game for Wisconsin but they still won by 20 points and now have a bye week to recover before heading to Ann Arbor for a showdown with the top-five Michigan Wolverines.