Badgers star Jonathan Taylor on verge of freshman rush mark

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Jonathan Taylor's most important carry of the year may have come before No. 3 Wisconsin took a regular-season snap.The setting: a scrimmage in the second week of training camp. Taylor busted through what would become one of the nation's best defenses for a big play.It was a sign of things to come.The Badgers' breakout star is 120 yards away from breaking the major college rushing record in a season for a freshman, set by Oklahoma's Adrian Peterson in 2004 (1,925 yards). The stage is set for the most important night yet of his young career, against No. 8 Ohio State at the Big Ten title game on Saturday with a College Football Playoff berth on the line.A productive outing and a win against the Buckeyes (10-2, No. 8 CFP) could also strengthen Taylor's postseason award resume and earn him a potential invite to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist."I feel as that it will be a big step, having a great game," Taylor said when asked about the possibility to be selected a Heisman finalist.His top goal, though, is clear. A loss spoils an undefeated season for Wisconsin (12-0, No. 4 CFP) and overshadows hype about individual accolades."That doesn't really impact how I prepare," Taylor said. "I don't prepare for an award — I prepare for the team we're going to play."It has been quite the rise to stardom for Taylor, the 5-foot-11, 214-pound dynamo from Salem, New Jersey, who boasts a blend of power, agility, vision and breakaway speed.He wasn't even on the two-deep chart to start the season. But he had already caught his teammates' attention by then."I've really never seen anyone break four or five tackles against our defense like that on that one particular play," tight end Troy Fumagalli said of Taylor's eye-opening carry during the training camp scrimmage.An injury to starter Bradrick Shaw offered opportunities for Taylor in the season opener. Taylor has been entrenched as the starter since then.Taylor leads the Big Ten averaging 150.5 yards Continue Reading

8 Badgers earn all-Big Ten offensive honors, led by RB Jonathan Taylor and two linemen

MADISON - One day after 12 members of Wisconsin’s top-ranked defense received all-conference football honors, eight members of the offense were honored by the Big Ten.Freshman tailback Jonathan Taylor, along with two of his linemen – guard Beau Benzschawel and tackle Michael Deiter, both redshirt juniors – led the way for UW as consensus first-team picks.Senior tight end Troy Fumagalli was a first-team pick by the coaches and second team by the media.Other Badgers recognized were sophomore tackle David Edwards (second team, coaches and media), freshman center Tyler Biadasz (third team, coaches and media) and sophomore wide receiver Quintez Cephus and sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook (honorable mention, coaches and media).Ohio State led the Big Ten with 11 offensive players honored, including seven on the first, second and third teams.The Badgers (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten) and Buckeyes (10-2, 8-1)  play for the Big Ten title at 7:17 p.m. Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. LIST: Complete all-Big Ten offensive teams RELATED: 12 Badgers earn all-Big Ten defensive honorsTaylor has started 11 of 12 games and leads the Big Ten in rushing with an average of 150.5 yards per game. That is 51.3 yards more than the No. 2 runner, Ohio State freshman J.K. Dobbins (99.2 ypg).Dobbins was a consensus second-team pick.Taylor has 13 rushing touchdowns, the No. 2 mark in the league behind Penn State’s Saquon Barkley (16), the other consensus first-team running back.Fumagalli is arguably the most complete tight end in the league. His blocking has helped UW average 243.3 rushing yards per game and he leads UW in receptions (38) and is second on the team in receiving yards (471). Benzschawel was a second-team pick by the coaches and a third-team pick by the media in 2016. Deiter was a consensus honorable-mention pick last season.Deiter this season made the transition to left tackle after starting a combined 27 games at Continue Reading

J.K. Dobbins has sparked OSU offense much like Jonathan Taylor has lifted UW’s

MADISON – J.K. Dobbins is to Ohio State what Jonathan Taylor is to Wisconsin:A gifted freshman tailback who has made his team’s offense more explosive and probably sooner than expected. “He is awesome,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said of Dobbins, from LaGrange, Texas. “He is one of those guys who supplies energy every day. He shows up ready to go to work.“He is a grown man. It is very rare to have a guy that young come in and just provide that for you.”Dobbins should play a critical role when Ohio State (10-2) meets Wisconsin (12-0) in the Big Ten title game at 7:17 p.m. Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.  RELATED: UW moves up to No. 4 in College Football Playoff rankings RELATED: 12 Badgers named to all-Big Ten defensive teams SCOUTING REPORT: Ohio State OHIO STATE AT A GLANCE: Results | Roster | ​​​​​​​Stats​​​​​​​UW finished second in the Big Ten in rushing at 243.3 yards per game. That was 7 yards per game behind the league leader — Ohio State. Dobbins played a key role in the Buckeyes’ success. The 5-foot-10, 208-pound Dobbins has started all 12 games, ahead of 2016 starter Mike Weber. Dobbins finished second in the Big Ten in rushing at 99.2 yards per game, with seven touchdowns. Although his per-game average is far below that of Taylor (150.5), his average of 7.3 per carry is best among the league’s top 10 rushers. “He is talented and I think they’ve got a really good scheme,” UW coach Paul Chryst said. “He fits in well with that. You’re impressed, just like I’m impressed with Jonathan, how he is able to do it over the (course) of the season.” Dobbins and Weber, who missed two games because of a hamstring injury, give the Buckeyes two outstanding options. Weber has 10 touchdowns, 602 Continue Reading

Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor is on the heels of Adrian Peterson and Ron Dayne

MINNEAPOLIS – Adrian Peterson, Ron Dayne and Jonathan Taylor.That would make a hellacious tailback committee, and after Wisconsin’s 31-0 victory over rival Minnesota on Saturday, that trio occupies the top three spots for single-season rushing marks among FBS freshman.Peterson rushed for 1,925 yards in 2004, Dayne was credited for 1,863 yards in 1996 and Taylor pushed his season total to 1,806 yards by rushing 20 times for 149 yards and a touchdown against the Gophers.Dayne finished with 2,106 yards in 1996, but because bowl statistics prior to the 2002 season are not recognized by the NCAA, Peterson owns the mark.Taylor, who entered the game No. 7 on the list with 1,657 yards, said he wasn’t sure where he stood afterward.He did know, however, that he trailed Peterson and Dayne.BOX SCORE: UW 31, Minnesota 0RELATED: UW 31, Minnesota 0: Badgers 12-0 for first timeRELATED: Awards, inside the huddle, by the numbersRELATED: UW vs. Minnesota: Scoring summaryRELATED: Auburn knocks off Alabama, clinches spot in SEC title game“Those guys that are ahead of me – Ron Dayne and Adrian Peterson – there will never be any backs like those guys,” Taylor said. “So to be mentioned with those guys is definitely humbling.“I’m proud to share this moment and feat with my team.”Taylor has surpassed the 100-yard mark in nine of 12 games this season, including three games of at least 200 yards. “It has been fun seeing him, not only what he has done but how he has done it,” UW coach Paul Chryst said. “He is the first to know it takes everyone. “He has been really good, (and) the guys around him appreciate him because they know that for him it is not about Jonathan. It is about the team. That’s pretty impressive.”Taylor lost a fumble in the second quarter and finished the first half with 41 yards on 12 carries. He added 108 yards on just eight carries Continue Reading

Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor ‘as good as any’ RB Michigan has faced

For good reason, Wisconsin freshman running back Jonathan Taylor has impressed Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh.No. 19 Michigan plays at No. 5 Wisconsin on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium. Michigan is 8-2, 5-2 Big Ten and Wisconsin is 10-0, 7-0.Taylor has 1,525 yards rushing, ranking third among FBS players, and has scored 12 touchdowns. He is averaging 6.95 yards a carry.“We’ve faced a lot of good backs this year and Wisconsin’s running back, he’s as good as any,” Harbaugh said Tuesday on the Big Ten conference call. “Very physical back. Can push the pile, move the pile. Gets more yards than what are blocked for.“If the play’s blocked for three, he gets five. If it’s blocked for four, he gets seven. Very impressive for a young back to be as physical and mature as he is. He has tremendous balance and vision. Been a very impressive back.” More:  Michigan relishes 'villain' role against Wisconsin, Ohio StateWisconsin coach Paul Chryst said this game is not just about Taylor. Wisconsin ranks No. 1 nationally in total defense, allowing 247.6 yards a game, while Michigan is No. 3 (254.8). The Badgers also are No. 1 against the run (81.5) and Michigan is No. 9 (110.3). The Wolverines statistically have a better pass defense by a small margin and both are among the nation’s top five in sacks.“Certainly, it’s a very, very impressive, very talented, well-coordinated defense,” Chryst said Tuesday, referring to Michigan’s defense. “And it’s going to take everyone and that’s why it’s not Jonathan versus that; it’s team offense versus team defense. That’s both sides of the ball. For any play to be successful against good opponents, you’ve got to execute, and everybody has to do their part.”The Wolverines rank ninth nationally in scoring defense, allowing an average 16.4 points, and gave up a season-high on the road at then-No. 2 Penn State Continue Reading

Wisconsin 24, Illinois 10: Badgers remain unbeaten but lose tailback Jonathan Taylor

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Fifth-ranked Wisconsin remained unbeaten and moved another step closer to the Big Ten West Division title with a 24-10 victory over a young Illinois team that isn’t close to being ready to compete against the league's elite teams.That result, a solid outing by the defense and a 4-yard touchdown run in the final quarter by left tackle Michael Deiter — that is not a misprint — comprised the highlights for Paul Chryst's team, which failed to play an efficient game in front of an announced crowd of 42,101 Saturday at Memorial Stadium.UW lost freshman tailback Jonathan Taylor (left leg) in the first half and, not surprisingly, the offense foundered for most of the second half.Taylor, who entered the game leading the Big Ten in rushing at 168.5 yards per game, carried 12 times for 73 yards before exiting.With Taylor out for the entire second half, UW finished with 168 rushing yards on 45 attempts. That was the Badgers’ second-lowest yardage total of the season. The low is 109 against Northwestern.  BOX SCORE: Wisconsin 24, Illinois 10 SUMMARY: How they scored REPLAYS: Awards, inside the huddle, by the numbers NOTES: Safety Joe Ferguson, filling in for starter D'Cota Dixon, makes critical play BADGERS CHAT: Jeff Potrykus at 7 p.m. Monday COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Live scoreboard, summaries, standings, statistics Deiter, beaming after scoring his first touchdown, was in no mood to apologize for a less-than-scintillating performance.“Whenever you win a football game, on the road in the Big Ten, you’re happy," he said. Just because you didn’t play a complete game offensively – it’s not always going to be complete to our standards.“We set the standard high. We want to be perfect and it’s never going to be perfect. So you leave here happy. You won the football game. “There’s no reason to not be Continue Reading

UW’s rushing attack needs a spark vs. Indiana if Jonathan Taylor is out

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Although it is too early to know whether Wisconsin will have Jonathan Taylor available this week at Indiana, his teammates know what life is like without the playmaking freshman tailback.It isn’t ideal, though it is survivable, at least against one of the lesser teams in the Big Ten. “I think we have Garrett (Groshek), Rachid (Ibrahim) and Bradrick (Shaw),” UW left tackle Michael Deiter said after UW played without Taylor for the final 41-plus minutes in a 24-10 victory over host Illinois on Saturday. “I think those guys can do it.  RELATED: Ugly first series by UW offense an ominous sign BADGERS CHAT: Jeff Potrykus at 7 p.m. on Monday “I didn’t see anyone disheartened because they didn’t see J.T. in there. If anything, you want to make sure you win the game for him and hope we can get him back.”Taylor left the game with 11 minutes, 20 seconds left in the first half after being gang-tackled at the end of a 3-yard run. One defender had Taylor wrapped up around the left ankle and a second defender fell onto the back of Taylor, who was on his stomach at the end of the run.It appeared Taylor was hobbled as he got up off the turf. He went to the UW sideline and did not return.According to UW officials, Taylor suffered a left leg injury.“We’ve got to overcome that,” UW coach Paul Chryst said when asked about the loss of Taylor. “I thought sometimes we did and other times we didn’t.”Despite the uneven performance, UW (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) moved up one spot to No. 4 Sunday in the Amway coaches poll on Sunday. Taylor entered the game leading the Big Ten in rushing at 158.9 yards per game. He had 11 of UW’s 16 rushing touchdowns and 1,112 of UW’s 1,798 rushing yards.“He definitely makes some plays, even when things are tough to get the ball moving,” quarterback Alex Hornibrook said. “He will break a few Continue Reading

Jonathan Taylor accuser recants domestic violence story about ex-Alabama player, arrested

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — The woman who said former Alabama football player Jonathan Taylor assaulted her has recanted the allegations. The 24-year-old woman, who has not been identified, was arrested on a charge of False Reporting to Law Enforcement, Tuscaloosa police said Wednesday in a release. She was released from the Tuscaloosa County Jail on bond. The release also said police will review the charges at a later date. Alabama didn’t not immediately respond to a request for comment. Taylor was arrested on Saturday and coach Nick Saban dismissed the defensive lineman the following day. He was charged with domestic violence third-degree assault and domestic violence third-degree criminal mischief after the woman reported injuries to her neck and damage to her apartment. She had said a verbal argument allegedly turned physical. Two days later, she contacted investigators and said Taylor had not hurt her. She maintained in further interviews on Tuesday that she had lied about the incident that led to Taylor’s arrest. The 6-foot-4, 335-pound lineman was dismissed from Georgia in July 2014 following his arrest on aggravated assault and family violence charges for allegedly punching and choking his girlfriend. That case is still pending. Saban said Monday night that he was sorry for how it turned out but not for giving Taylor another chance. Taylor had been undergoing counseling at Alabama. "I still think he’s a good person,” the coach said. “I think he has a problem and a circumstance that is not acceptable.” Taylor was one of three Alabama players arrested in a four-day span, and reserve running back Tyren Jones was also dismissed following his arrest for marijuana possession. Jones had been suspended from the team since February. Continue Reading

Alabama coach Nick Saban to address arrests of Geno Smith and Jonathan Taylor

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban is expected to address the media Monday after two Crimson Tide players were arrested in separate cases over the weekend. Defensive back Geno Smith and defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor are facing legal trouble again. Smith was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol Saturday for the second time in his career. Smith took to social media to apologize to fans for his arrest. “I know I have lost respect from alot of Alabama fans and thats understandable but I will be better from these events in my life!” Smith said in one of several such posts on his Twitter page Saturday. He was also arrested on a DUI charge in August 2013. Taylor’s case is potentially even more of a problem for the program. The player signed with the Tide months after his dismissal from Georgia and was arrested Saturday for similar allegations of domestic abuse. The case in Georgia is still pending. Saban has kicked Taylor off the team, saying the player knew he was signed under a “zero tolerance policy.” His case has been referred to the university’s judicial affairs, according to school spokeswoman Deborah Lane. Taylor has been charged with domestic violence third-degree assault and domestic violence third-degree criminal mischief, police said. A police news release said the woman had injuries to her neck and a hole had been punched in the closet door of a bedroom. The 6-foot-4, 335-pound lineman was dismissed from Georgia in July 2014 following his arrest on aggravated assault and family violence charges. Taylor played last season at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi. He was also one of four Georgia players arrested in March 2014 for receiving double payments for checks of $71.50 issued by the school’s athletic department. Alabama had also re-signed defensive lineman D.J. Pettway out of a junior college last year, 10 months after the Continue Reading

Alabama DL Jonathan Taylor kicked off team after second domestic violence arrest

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban has dismissed Jonathan Taylor from the team following the second domestic violence arrest of the defensive lineman's college career. Saban announced the decision on Sunday, a day after Tuscaloosa police arrested Taylor when a woman reported she was assaulted by her boyfriend. Taylor signed with the Crimson Tide about six months after his dismissal from Georgia following his arrest in a girlfriend's assault. "Jonathan Taylor has been dismissed from the team and is no longer a part of our program," Saban said in a statement released through the athletic department. "This will still need to go through the legal process, but when he was given an opportunity here, it was under strict guidelines and we made it clear there was a zero tolerance policy." RELATED: NICK SABAN TO ADDRESS ARRESTS OF GENO SMITH AND JONATHAN TAYLOR University spokeswoman Deborah Lane said Sunday that Taylor has been referred to judicial affairs. Taylor has been charged with domestic violence third-degree assault and domestic violence third-degree criminal mischief, police said. A police news release said the woman had injuries to her neck. The 6-foot-4, 335-pound lineman was dismissed from Georgia in July 2014 following his arrest on aggravated assault and family violence charges. Taylor played last season at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Mississippi. He was also one of four Georgia players arrested in March 2014 for receiving double payments for checks of $71.50 issued by the school's athletic department. Alabama athletic director Bill Battle said the university and athletic department had "set forth very clear standards of accountability and expectations of conduct" for Taylor. "Jonathan was afforded a chance to successfully overcome the difficulties that resulted in his departure from the University of Georgia," Battle said in a statement. "Unfortunately, it appears that he was unable to do so, in Continue Reading