Huskers lose to No. 9 Wisconsin

By  | 

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Freshman Johnathan Taylor rushed for a season-high 249 yards and two touchdowns to lead a punishing ground game that helped ninth-ranked Wisconsin wear down Nebraska in the second half of a 38-17 win Saturday night.

The Badgers (5-0, 2-0) beat the Huskers (3-3, 2-1) for the fifth straight time and took sole possession of first place in the Big Ten West.

Taylor, who had his second 200-yard performance in five games, carried 25 times while recording the third-most rushing yards ever by a Nebraska opponent.

The Badgers went to the run almost exclusively on three straight scoring drives after Nebraska's Aaron Williams returned an interception to tie it 17-all early in the third quarter.

They ran on eight of 10 plays while going 93 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, which Quintez Cephus scored on a 5-yard pass. Next time they ran on all 10 plays as they went 80 yards, with Taylor bulling in from the 2. After Stanley Morgan fumbled on the Huskers' ensuing possession, they ran 10 times for 40 yards, with Bradrick Shawn scoring from the 1.

The Badgers ended Nebraska's 20-game win streak in home night games since 2008.

Devine Ozigbo had 112 yards on 23 carries for the Huskers.

Wisconsin had a pick-six of its own when Chris Orr snagged a ball that glanced off intended receiver Ozigbo and returned it 78 yards on the game's fifth play from scrimmage. It was the fourth pick-six thrown by Tanner Lee this season and his 10th interception.

The Huskers gouged the nation's No. 4 defense for more than 300 yards in the first half but didn't score until just before halftime. Lee and Stanley Morgan Jr. hooked up for an 80-yard catch-and-run, Nebraska's longest pass play since 2014.

The Badgers were back up 17-7 after the first play of their next series, with Taylor going 75 yards untouched for Wisconsin's longest play from scrimmage since 2014.

Wisconsin: The Badgers still own the Huskers, having beaten them six out of seven times since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011.
Nebraska: The Huskers managed only 68 yards in the second half after amassing 313 in the first. The 21-point loss only increases the pressure on third-year coach Mike Riley.

Wisconsin hosts Purdue and will go for its 12th straight win in the series. Nebraska hosts No. 10 Ohio State, which beat the Huskers 62-3 last year.

80 –– Quarterback Tanner Lee connected with Stanley Morgan Jr. on an 80-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. The 80-yard pass was the seventh-longest pass play in school history and the longest for Nebraska since a 99-yard TD pass from Tommy Armstrong Jr. to Quincy Enunwa against Georgia on Jan. 1, 2014. The pass play bettered Morgan’s previous career long reception of 72 yards at Indiana last season. The 80-yard pass was the longest of Lee’s Nebraska career and the second-longest of his college career behind a 90-yard pass in 2015 while playing at Tulane against Army.
100 –– Receiver Stanley Morgan Jr. caught four passes for 115 yards, including three catches for 100 yards before halftime. Morgan’s 115 receiving yards were a career high, bettering his 103 receiving yards at Oregon earlier this season. It was Morgan’s third 100-yard receiving game in 2017 and he has had at least 90 receiving yards in all five games he has played in 2017. Morgan has 30 receptions for 510 yards this season and his 510 receiving yards through six games is the second most in school history by a Husker through the team’s first six games. Johnny Rodgers had 521 yards in his Heisman Trophy winning season of 1972.
112 –– I-back Devine Ozigbo rushed 23 times for a career-high 112 yards. Ozigbo topped 100 yards for the third straight game, marking the first Nebraska back to rush for 100 yards in three straight games since Ameer Abdullah rushed for 100 yards in three straight games in September of 2014. Ozigbo is the first 100-yard rusher against Wisconsin since LSU’s Leonard Fournette on Sept. 3, 2016. As a team, Nebraska has had a 100-yard rusher in five of six games this season.
6 –– Nebraska safety Aaron Williams had a pick-six for a touchdown in the third quarter to tie the game at 17-17. It was Nebraska’s first interception return for a touchdown since Chris Jones had a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown at Indiana last season. It was the second interception for Williams in 2017 and the fifth of his career. Williams also had a team-high 11 tackles, including eight solo stops the most by a Husker this season. It was the second double-figure tackle game of the season for Williams. (12 at Oregon).
1,000 –– Senior De’Mornay Pierson-El caught a 37-yard pass on Nebraska’s second offensive play, pushing him past 1,000 career receiving yards and making Pierson-El the 26th Husker with 1,000 career receiving yards. Pierson-El finished the game with three receptions for 59 yards.
381 –– Nebraska posted 381 yards of offense in tonight’s game, an opponent season high against Wisconsin. The previous best was against Wisconsin this season was 304 yards by Utah State in the season opener. Nebraska totaled 313 yards before halftime in tonight’s game.
20––The Wisconsin win ended a streak of 20 straight wins by Nebraska in night games at Memorial Stadium. The Huskers’ previous loss was to No. 4 Missouri in 2008. Wisconsin won in Lincoln for the second time in five tries all-time, and took an 8-4 lead in the all-time series.

Other Notes
· Redshirt freshman receiver JD Spielman had team-high six receptions for 79 yards, setting career highs in both categories. His previous bests were five receptions against Rutgers and 52 yards vs. Northern Illinois. Spielman totaled four catches for 48 yards in the first half.
· Sophomore punter Caleb Lightbourn had a career-long 69-yard punt in the second quarter, pinning Wisconsin at its 9-yard line. The punt was the longest by a Husker since Sam Foltz had a 70-yard punt at Wisconsin in 2014. Lightbourn also had a 57-yard punt and averaged 47.4 yards on five punts, while pinning Wisconsin inside its 20 on three of his punts.
· Redshirt freshman linebacker Ben Stille made his first career start in tonight’s game.
· Senior safety Joshua Kalu had a career-high 10 tackles and a pair of pass breakups in his first game since week 2 at Oregon.

Read the original version of this article at