Another week, another lopsided result in favor of the No. 17 Wisconsin Badgers (2-0). Wisconsin notched a second straight win to open the 2019 season with a blowout victory in their home opener with a 61-0 victory over Central Michigan. Jonathan Taylor scored four total touchdowns and quarterback Jack Coan passed for 363 yards and three touchdowns in the win. The defense also recorded a second consecutive shutout.
Taylor continues to march toward the 5,000-yard career mark. With 4,306 career rushing yards to his name entering Week 2, Taylor added 102 more yards (and three rushing touchdowns with a touchdown reception for good measure) to move closer to becoming the fourth player to record 5,000 career rushing yards through their junior season. He would join Georgia’s Herschel Walker, Oregon’s LaMichael James and, naturally, Wisconsin’s Ron Dayne. He now needs 592 more yards.
But Wisconsin is always going to be solid running the football. The more pleasant development early on may be the play of Coan. A week after a solid outing against USF, Coan was incredibly efficient and reliable throwing the football against the Chippewas. The only question is just how much as Coan been challenged by opposing pass defenses? USF was an above average pass defensive team in 2018 with 11 interceptions, and Central Michigan allowed the fourth-fewest passing yards per game last season. The flip side of that argument, however, is the Chippewas had the seventh fewest opposing pass attempts thrown against them last season. The season is still young, and the level of defensive stature is going to increase for Wisconsin. This has been an incredibly encouraging start for the Badgers, but we are still dealing with a small sample size.
Although Wisconsin has not been presented with a stiff challenge to start the season, they now prepare for one of the more challenging obstacles they will face this season. After getting a bye week next week, Wisconsin will host No. 7 Michigan, who handed Wisconsin a loss last season in Ann Arbor. Michigan will also have a bye week to prepare for their first road trip of the season, and they may need the bye week more than the Badgers. Michigan struggled at home but celebrated a double overtime victory against Army earlier on Saturday. The new-look offense is still a work in progress for the Wolverines, and it seems the Wisconsin defense could be in for a good matchup at home.
This is the second time since 2013 Wisconsin has opened the year with back-to-back shutouts. The Badgers blanked UMass and Tennessee Tech in the first two games of the 2015 season with 45-0 and 48-0 victories, respectively. The last time Wisconsin recorded two shutouts in the same season was 2015 with wins against Hawaii and Miami Ohio.
Central Michigan will hope to bounce back next week when they host Akron in MAC play.