Associated Press

Unbeaten Wisconsin loses leading receiver for rest of season

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If No. 8 Wisconsin is to make a run to a Big Ten title and possible berth in the College Football Playoff, they’ll have to do so without their most productive threat in the passing game.

Earlier in the week, UW confirmed that Quintez Cephus would not play in the Week 11 game against Iowa because of an injury.  Thursday, the football program confirmed that not only will the wide receiver miss this coming weekend, but the remainder of the season as well.

The Badgers, who can clinch the Big Ten West division this weekend, have not revealed the specific nature of the injury to his right leg, which the sophomore sustained in the Week 10 win over Indiana.

Cephus currently leads the team in receiving yards (501) and receiving touchdowns (six).  He’s also tied for the team lead with 30 receptions and is second in yards per catch at 16.7.

In addition to Cephus, fellow receivers Jazz Peavy (right leg) and George Rushing (left leg) have been ruled out for the Iowa game as well.  Peavy, a senior who has five catches for 55 yards on the season, hasn’t played since being injured in the Oct. 7 win over Nebraska.

No. 8 Wisconsin to be without two starters vs. No. 20 Iowa

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No. 8 Wisconsin will be without two starters as its hosts No. 20 Iowa on Saturday, Badgers head coach Paul Chryst confirmed Monday.

Wide receiver Quintez Cephus and linebacker Chris Orr will miss the game for injuries sustained in the team’s 45-17 win over Indiana last week. Cephus injured his right leg while blocking during a third quarter play as guard Beau Benzschawel rolled onto his lower half. Orr suffered a left leg injury and left the game early.

Cephus, a sophomore from Macon, Ga.., leads the club with 30 grabs for 501 yards and six touchdowns. Orr, a sophomore from DeSoto, Texas, has compiled 35 tackles, two TFLs and one sack.

No. 5 Wisconsin remains perfect after win against Maryland

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You can probably pencil in No. 5 Wisconsin (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) to be representing the Big Ten West Division in the Big Ten championship game if you have not already. After taking care of Maryland (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) today in Madison, the Badgers are well on their way to Indianapolis for a second straight season with a 38-13 victory giving the Badgers a two-game cushion in the loss column. The chances anybody catches them are getting slimmer by the week. The question is quickly becoming whether or not Wisconsin will be 12-0 when they get to Indy.

Freshman sensation Jonathan Taylor continues to roll up the rushing yardage with another 100-yard afternoon (126 yards, 1 TD). Alex Hornibrook also passed for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns to help the Badgers offense pull away. Wisconsin may have had a couple of turnovers in the first half that didn’t hurt them (Maryland managed just one short field goal after taking over at the Wisconsin five-yard line), but the Badgers were efficient on third downs (6-of-10). Maryland struggled on third downs against one of the top defense sin the Big Ten, which was to be expected, but Maryland did convert two fourth-down opportunities to keep drives alive.

Maryland just could not manage to play a clean enough game, could not take advantage of any opportunities presented to them by Wisconsin, or avoid costly penalties. In the end, Maryland was just outmatched against the heavy favorites in the West Division, and Maryland is once again sent home with a rough loss on the road against one of the Big Ten’s top programs.  Since joining the Big Ten, Maryland is 0-3 against the Badgers, and 0-2 in Madison.

Wisconsin has now won 13 consecutive regular season games dating back to last season (Wisconsin lost the Big Ten championship game against Penn State, which should be considered a postseason game.

Wisconsin will play their next two games in Big Ten play on the road. Next week the Badgers head to Illinois (2-4 coming into today) and then Wisconsin makes a trip to Indiana (entering today 3-3, but 0-3 in Big Ten play with losses to Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan). If Wisconsin avoids an upset on the road, then the fate of a potential undefeated regular season is put on the line with home games against Iowa and Michigan. The Badgers already have a two-game lead in the loss column in the Big Ten West Division and appear ready to make a return trip to Indianapolis. What the stakes will be beyond a Big Ten title remain to be seen, but the Badgers are not fading out of the College Football Playoff picture anytime soon.

For Maryland, the chance to become bowl eligible is becoming more of a challenge that may require the Terrapins to pull an upset at home against either Michigan or Penn State in November. Maryland still needs three wins and must win their next two in order to keep the dream alive before the final three games of the season against the Wolverines, at Michigan State, and home against the Nittany Lions. Maryland hosts Indiana next week and travels to Rutgers after that.

Wisconsin defense scores and bails out Badgers offense in first half vs. Maryland

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Wisconsin does not appear to be in much of any trouble this afternoon in Madison, Wisconsin against Maryland, but the Badgers took a while to start putting away the Terrapins. Wisconsin owns a 21-3 lead on the Terps at halftime, but the Wisconsin offense has had two turnovers so far. Maryland just has not been able to capitalize on those opportunities.

The Badgers defense put the first points on the scoreboard on the game’s opening possession. T.J. Edwards picked off a pass from Max Bortenschlager and returned it 54 yards for a score. It was the fourth pick-six of the season for the Badgers, moving them into a tie for the national lead with Duke.

Maryland failed to take advantage of a fumble by Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor that gave the Terrapins the football on the Wisconsin five-yard line. Unable to pick up any yardage, Maryland settled for a field goal to cut the lead to 7-3. The Badgers responded with a 10-play, 70-yard touchdown drive ending with Taylor making his way to the end zone on a three-yard run. Wisconsin added a late touchdown on a pass from Alex Hornibrook to Zander Neuville.

In the second half, Wisconsin will get the ball to start the third quarter and will look to start overpowering Maryland to get this game wrapped up with a “W.”

No. 9 Wisconsin runs over Nebraska to take control of Big Ten West race

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Just about everybody in the Big Ten could take one look at No. 9 Wisconsin’s schedule and see that their most difficult road game of the year would happen on October 7th at Nebraska. For a half at least, the Cornhuskers helped live up to that early billing on Saturday night.

But slowly and surely, the Badgers’ fearsome rushing attack plowed over their opponents to run away with the game 38-17 and secure the pole position in the Big Ten West race with little resistance.

All told Paul Chryst’s team wound up with 353 yards on the ground, most of which were racked up by budding superstar tailback Jonathan Taylor (249 and two scores to finish the game). While you thought early on there might be a time where Alex Hornibrook — 113 yards, one TD, one pick — might have to win a close game with his arm, that was not the case as he handed off time after time down the stretch and let his backs do the rest of the work behind that big offensive line.

Not everything went smoothly for the Badgers in the game however, as the defense allowed their first points in the third quarter all season. They did at least balance that out with a first quarter pick-six from linebacker Chris Orr that went 78 yards the other way to the end zone.

That interception return was a bit of tone-setter for the night for Cornhuskers’ QB Tanner Lee, who finished with 262 yards and a touchdown pass as well but failed to get things for an offense that never seemed to click outside of a handful of big plays. Running back Devine Ozigbo added another 112 yards on the ground but there was just not much there on either side of the ball outside of a fun few minutes going into and coming out of halftime for a disappointing Nebraska team.

On a day where two top 10 teams suffered upsets at the hands of unranked opponents, there were a few moments where it looked like Wisconsin might be in position to join them as the Cornhuskers were threatening and Big Red was making plenty of noise. Calmly and coolly however, the Badgers just pulled away and ground out yet another victory to stay perfect on the year. While the schedule remains tricky the rest of the way, they did pass their biggest road test and look more and more like a potential undefeated team heading into Indianapolis for the conference title game given how they ran the football and played defense on Saturday night in Lincoln.