Wisconsin Football: Handing out game balls from win over Michigan

Wisconsin football defended Camp Randall in an impressive win over #11 Michigan on Saturday. Here are the three Badgers who deserved game balls after the win.

Michigan came to Camp Randall seeking its first win at Wisconsin since 2001. They will have to wait until their next meeting in Madison because the Badgers came out and smacked the Wolverines in the mouth. It was really an all-around beatdown by this Wisconsin football team.

In order to have such a complete win, there needed to be multiple contributors. In this game, Wisconsin had plenty of players worthy of a game ball, making it hard to pick just three. But, we will try.

Game Ball No. 1 – Jonathan Taylor

This was the easiest choice, so I’ll start with Jonathan Taylor, the best running back in the nation. Taylor has been used somewhat sparingly in the first two games. Not only because they were blowout games, but I think Chryst wanted to keep his legs fresh come Big Ten play. With only 40 touches in the first two games and a week off between games, Taylor showed no rust.

Taylor carried the ball 23 times for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns against a team was a favorite to win the Big Ten at the start of the season. A big chunk of his yards came on a huge 72-yard touchdown run.

That run caught the internet’s attention, including former Wisconsin football running back Melvin Gordon.

I think JT’s Heisman hopes are alive and well. He’s a huge reason why this Wisconsin football team has moved up to number 8 in the country.

Game Ball No. 2 – Zack Baun

On defense, Baun was an absolute terror to this Michigan offense. Baun posted seven tackles, two of which were for a loss and a sack. He was also in the quarterback’s face all day, registering two quarterback hurries and hits.

He was a part of the play that put the Wolverines away, forcing a fumble with under three minutes left to play.

Baun has really stepped up this year on this defense. With Andrew Van Ginkel gone, the pass rush needed to come from somewhere, and Baun has answered the call. He leads the team in both sacks and forced fumbles.

If Zack Baun keeps up this pace, the sky is the limit for this kid and this defense.

Game Ball No. 3 – Jack Coan

Coan’s passing stats don’t necessarily scream game ball. He threw for 128 yards on 13 of 16 attempts and no touchdowns, but he didn’t throw an interception either. But he showed a different side of his game on Saturday. He ran the ball seven times for 12 yards and two touchdowns!

He made some big plays in some big moments too. When the Badgers were up 21-0, the Badgers got the ball with 1:05 left. The Badgers could have run the clock out and been happy to have a nice three-score lead on Michigan, but Coan made a couple of nice plays.

First, he throws a nice pass to Groshek for an 18-yard gain. Next, he scrambles out of pressure and takes it 25 yards for a touchdown to take a commanding four-touchdown lead. I think that was the play that broke Michigan’s back. Just take a look at the wheels.

Coan’s decision-making and ability to take care of the ball is huge for this Wisconsin football team. Big Ten play will be tough coming up with games against Northwestern, Michigan State and Ohio State, but Coan looks capable of leading this offense to some big wins this season.

All stats courtesy of Sports Reference