MADISON, Wis. — Jonathan Taylor rushed for 208 yards and three touchdowns, and Wisconsin played smash-mouth football in the second half to run away from Rutgers for a 31-17 win on Saturday.
Ryan Connelly led a strong effort from the front seven with eight tackles, while Andrew Van Ginkel blocked a field-goal attempt for the Badgers (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten).
Starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook left the game at halftime because of a head injury, a week after missing a loss at Northwestern while in the concussion protocol.
All backup quarterback Jack Coan had to do in the third quarter was hand off to his running backs.
Why not when you have Taylor, the nation’s leading rusher, in the backfield?
The Badgers had 13 plays, all runs, for 163 yards in the quarter to turn a 10-0 halftime lead into a comfortable 24-3 advantage. Taylor, who had 27 carries on the day, scored on runs from 38 and 18 yards in the third.
“The things that he does for our offense speaks for itself. He’s a great player and does a lot of good things,” right tackle David Edwards said.
Wisconsin had the edge in talent over the Scarlet Knights (1-8, 0-6), the only team still winless in Big Ten play. Still, the first half had the sluggish pace of a nonconference game in early September.
Saquon Hampton picked off Hornibrook twice in the first half. The defense also held Wisconsin scoreless after a drive that started at the Rutgers 41 set up by Dixon’s 34-yard return of Van Ginkel’s block of a 45-yard field-goal attempt.
Running back Raheem Blackshear had eight catches for 162 yards and a touchdown to lead Rutgers, often getting chunk plays on screens or short passes as the Badgers tried to swarm quarterback Artur Sitkowski.
Blackshear also ran for 38 yards for 10 carries to give him 200 yards of total offense on the afternoon. Sitkowski was 20 of 39 for 261 yards but absorbed several hits from unblocked defenders.
“We got down, but we kept fighting. We got some things going in the second half offensively that we weren’t able to get going in a while. That was good to see,” Rutgers coach Chris Ash said.
Rutgers finally got its first touchdown with 8:14 left on Jonathan Hilliman’s 1-yard run to get within 14.
. 22 SYRACUSE 41, WAKE FOREST 24
Eric Dungey rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown, Jarveon Howard ran for two scores and No. 22 Syracuse beat Wake Forest 41-24 on Saturday.
Dungey — whose average of 294.1 total yards per game ranks second in the ACC — was 23 of 35 for 157 yards and also ran for a 26-yard score to help the Orange (7-2, 4-2, No. 19 CFP) win their first game as a Top 25 team since the Dwight Freeney days in 2001.
“Can’t say enough about what (the seniors have) done to change this culture … and give us an opportunity to do greater things in the future,” coach Dino Babers said. “Whatever happens, they’re going to be known as the class that got this thing turned around and headed in the right direction.”
Moe Neal added an 8-yard score, Chris Elmore had a 5-yard TD run and Andre Szmyt kicked two field goals for Syracuse, which earned its first conference road victory in more than two years.
Sam Hartman was 21 of 37 for 275 yards for the Demon Deacons (4-5, 1-4) with two touchdown passes. His 8-yarder to Greg Dortch pulled them to 35-24 with 3:38 left in the third quarter.
But after Wake Forest forced a stop, Hartman fumbled at his own 34 and Syracuse turned that takeaway into Szmyt’s 28-yard field goal that put Orange up by 14 with 11:55 left.
Cade Carney had a 2-yard touchdown run and Nick Sciba kicked a 22-yard field goal to give Wake Forest an early 10-0 lead.
ARMY 17, AIR FORCE 14
Fullback Darnell Woolfolk rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown, Kelvin Hopkins Jr. scored on a 6-yard run, and Army held off service academy rival Air Force 17-14 on Saturday.
It was the 11th straight victory at Michie Stadium for Army (7-2), which will keep the Commander in Chief’s Trophy, emblematic of supremacy among the three service academies, regardless of the outcome of its game next month against archrival Navy. Army won the trophy outright last season for the first time since 1996.
Air Force (3-6), which beat Navy 35-7 a month ago, is 33-14 in Commander in Chief’s Trophy games against Army since the trophy was first awarded in 1972.
Air Force had won 18 of the previous 21 in the series against the Black Knights, but one of those Army victories was 21-0 last year at Air Force. That loss snapped a school-record, 306-game scoring streak by the Falcons dating to 1992.
The Falcons were unable to score in the first half with Isaiah Sanders at quarterback, fell behind by two scores, and couldn’t recover despite a late rally. The Black Knights secured the victory when Donald Hammond III was stopped for no gain on a fourth-and-3 play at the Army 40 with under 2 minutes to play.
Hammond had replaced Sanders to start the third quarter and quickly hit Marcus Bennett for 31 yards into Army territory, but the drive ended when the Falcons were called for an illegal block on a fourth-and-3 play and had to punt.
Hammond had completions of 17 yards to Geraud Sanders and 13 yards to Marcus Bennett late in the third quarter, but the Falcons turned the ball over on downs when a fourth-down pass by Hammond attempt fell incomplete.
The Falcons finally caught a break when safety Jeremy Fejedelem got a hand on a punt by Army’s Nick Schrage and it traveled just 4 yards to give Air Force a first down at the Army 34 and they capitalized. Hammond scored from the 1 two plays after converting a fourth-and-1 play to cut the lead to 14-6 with under a minute to play in the third. Jake Koehnke’s point-after try hit the left goalpost and stayed out.
Senior John Abercrombie kicked a 30-yard field goal with 8:35 left to complete a 13-play drive that took 7:19 off the clock on a gusty day and gave Army a 17-6 lead midway through the fourth.
Undaunted, Hammond drove the Falcons 75 yards in 10 plays to pull within a field goal. The drive was kept alive by a pass interference call against Army on a third-and-10 play. Cole Fagan’s 30-yard catch-and-run set up Joseph Saucier’s 6-yard touchdown run off a pitch. Saucier also converted on the 2-point try to make it 17-14.
. 8 OHIO STATE 36, NEBRASKA 31
J.K. Dobbins ran for three touchdowns and Dwayne Haskins Jr. passed for two more as No. 8 Ohio State rallied in the second half and held off visiting Nebraska 36-31 Saturday.
After Adrian Martinez threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to JD Spielman to pull the Cornhuskers within five with 3 minutes left, Dobbins pounded away for two first downs to run out the clock.
Before the late Nebraska score, Dobbins broke through the right side and romped for a 42-yard touchdown with 5 minutes left to give Ohio State (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten, No. 10 CFP) breathing room.
“We had every chance to in the world to win that game,” Nebraska coach Scott Frost said.
The Buckeyes’ much-maligned running game and defense finally showed up in the second half.
Dobbins rushed for a season-high 163 yards — only his second 100-yard game this season. Running back Mike Weber added 91 yards on the ground.
MICHIGAN STATE 24, MARYLAND 3
Michigan State capped a rough week for the unsettled Maryland football program, using a stout defensive performance to defeat the punchless Terrapins 24-3 Saturday in College Park.
Connor Heyward ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns to help the Spartans (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) become a bowl eligible for the second year in a row following a 3-9 stumble in 2016.
The Terrapins (5-4, 3-3) managed only 100 yards and nine first downs for interim coach and offensive coordinator Matt Canada.
It was a sobering ending to a bizarre week for Maryland that included the reinstatement, then dismissal, of head coach DJ Durkin in the span of two days.
“This week was a challenging week. That’s a fact. You guys all know that,” Canada said. “But we came in and worked every day. Our kids played hard.
“We lost today because we just didn’t play well enough. We played a really good football team and I didn’t coach well enough.”