Wisconsin vs. Nebraska, 10/7/17

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor (23) steps out of an attempted tackle by Nebraska linebacker Marcus Newby (3) in the third quarter at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star

As Wisconsin's offense got ready to go back on the field after Nebraska had cut its lead to 10-7 late in the first half, running back Jonathan Taylor had a talk with his linemen.

"The momentum had shifted, we didn't want to end off with the momentum shifted to the other team," Taylor said. "I talked with the linemen. We talked about the run fits on the play coming up. It was there and it was great execution."

It was a 75-yard run for a touchdown that put the Badgers 17-7.

In the third quarter, after Nebraska's Aaron Brown picked off Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook and pulled the Huskers into a 17-all tie, the Badgers again turned to Taylor, who carried the ball six times on a 93-yard drive that put Wisconsin up 24-17.

He ran it six more times on the next drive, punching in a 2-yard touchdown to make the score 31-17.

Taylor finished with 249 yards on 25 carries, the second time the freshman has passed the 200-yard mark this season.

"It's definitely surprising," he said of the 200-yard games. "But the guys give me so much confidence. I know I have to do my job and trust the guys to do theirs."

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst praised his young running back.

"I thought JT was special tonight, certainly the big run at the end of the first half," Chryst said. "I thought he he had some hard 7, 8 ,yards. He's continuing to get better. "

Wisconsin threw only two more passes after the pick-six as Taylor and the other Badger backs rang up 187 second-half rushing yards.

"Guys were on their targets," Chryst said of the success of the running game. "The two passes were two third-down conversions. The guys were on it. They were executing. That gives you a chance to continue to run the football. And that sets up our defense a little bit. … The other part is the defense was really fresh and got some quick in and outs. That's what I mean by playing with each other."

Hornibrook wasn't bothered by throwing the ball only twice in the second half.

"It's pretty crazy. I think one drive I came off the field and told (lineman) Micah Kapoi he could have played quarterback there. It was awesome to see, though."

Taylor, a true freshman who has played only five games, said Saturday's atmosphere was the most intense and exciting anywhere he has played outside of Wisconsin's Camp Randall Stadium.

That made his crowd-stunning runs — and the Badger win — even more satisfying.

"There's no better feeling that's silencing such a loud and electric crowd," Taylor said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSWolgamott.

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