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A.J. Taylor - Wisconsin Nebraska

Wisconsin wide receiver A.J. Taylor beats a tackle attempt by Nebraska safety Marquel Dismuke during the first half of the Badgers' 37-21 win over the Cornhuskers on Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the 15th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers' performance in their 37-21 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

Offense: B

Jonathan Taylor rushing for more than 200 yards against Nebraska? At this point, it's a given. UW was at its best when Paul Chryst went almost exclusively with two tight ends and ran it down Nebraska's throats in the second half. The 55-yard touchdown pass was a great throw by Jack Coan and a better catch-and-run by A.J. Taylor.

Defense: C

UW had trouble controlling Nebraska's spread, mainly in the run game. There were too many holes, too many missed tackles, too many big plays. Still, UW mixed in enough sacks, takeaways and fourth-down stops to secure the win. Jack Sanborn's interception off a Chris Orr tip changed the momentum. Zack Baun had two of UW's four sacks.

Special teams: B-plus

The Badgers said they were close to breaking a kickoff return and Aron Cruickshank showed elite speed on his 89-yarder for a touchdown. Collin Larsh was 3-for-3 on field goals. The longest was 31 yards, but that's the consistency UW needs. Anthony Lotti pinned Nebraska at the 4 late in the game. The kickoff coverage was strong.

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Coaching: C-plus

Liked seeing Cruickshank on jet sweeps. Would have liked seeing Chryst try one more run from the 6 at the end of the half, especially since he had a timeout. To match Nebraska's spread, Jim Leonhard replaced outside linebacker Noah Burks with a cornerback. It didn't work well as Nebraska attacked UW's edges for big plays.

Overall: B

After a slow start, especially on defense, UW took control with its power running game and scored 24 unanswered points. Still, it wasn't until Reggie Pearson's blow-up hit on Wyatt Mazour at the 1 with 2 minutes, 11 seconds left that the Badgers could rest easy. They'll need to play better defense, but they're still in the hunt.


Photos: Wisconsin Badgers continue dominance of Nebraska Cornhuskers

Bucky!

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Contact Tom Oates at toates@madison.com

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