Wisconsin’s Taylor makes history, Michigan ‘getting better’

Jonathan Taylor headlined conference news last weekend, taking over the No. 2 spot in Big Ten history in career rushing yards.


Katina Zentz

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh speaks during the second day of Big Ten Football Media Days in Chicago, Ill., on Friday, July 19, 2019.

Pete Mills, Sports Reporter

No one can stop Jonathan Taylor.

The Wisconsin running back’s consistency and dominance — which is usually under-the-radar — headlined the news last weekend, as he took down long-standing college football records.

Meanwhile, Michigan officially fell out of the running for a spot in the Big Ten Championship, but it has seen an incredible resurgence in the second half of its season. The Wolverines took down rival Michigan State last weekend.

Iowa may have beaten a top-10 team on Nov. 16, but that doesn’t mean Week 12 wasn’t eventful around the rest of Big Ten. 

Taylor making history for Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Taylor had another elite performance last week in his team’s win over Nebraska. The junior put up 204 yards on 8.4 yards per carry and scored two touchdowns, but he also made history.

During the game against the Huskers, Taylor broke Herschel Walker’s record for most rushing yards through a junior season.

“Who he is and how he goes about this is the thing you appreciate the most,” head coach Paul Chryst said. “It is hard to run the ball and do what he’s been doing, and he’d be the first one to say it. [He] knows it takes everyone… There’s a lot that goes into it. But I feel blessed to be around him.”

With 5,634 rushing yards, he also passed Archie Griffin on the all-time Big Ten rushing yards list. Taylor took over the No. 2 spot, now trailing only Wisconsin Heisman winner Ron Dayne.

“They told me after the game,” Taylor said. “I didn’t know that was a thing. There’s a stat for everything. Just to be mentioned with those guys is an incredible honor.”

Taylor has torn up tough defenses all season. Iowa has posted some of the most impressive defensive stats in college football this year, but Taylor still racked up 250 yards on 8.1 yards per carry in Wisconsin’s Nov. 9 win over Iowa. That single-game total is the most against an Iowa defense since 2000.

RELATED: Hawkeye special teamers set for Senior Day in Kinnick

Michigan ‘getting better,’ beats rival Michigan State

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh took a lot of flak after his team — projected by many to take the Big Ten Championship before the season — suffered losses to Penn State and Wisconsin in the first half of the season.

Michigan has struggled against rivals Michigan State and Ohio State under Harbaugh, only posting a 3-6 record against the two programs.

Harbaugh silenced his critics last week as Michigan dismantled Michigan State, 44-10. Wolverine quarterback Shea Patterson threw for 384 yards and four touchdowns, surprising for a rivalry typically known for defensive battles. It was the most points either team has scored in the game since 2004.

“What I’ve seen is tremendous effort by our team, and when you get that, you can get everything else,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve seen continuous development and improvement by the team… The team’s just been getting better. You can’t plant potatoes one day and expect to eat potato salad the next day.”

Michigan has now won three-straight games, posting 38 points or more in each of the wins. The streak includes a 31-point rout over No. 15 Notre Dame.

It might still have a date with Ohio State looming on Nov. 30, but the Wolverines can’t write off its matchup at Indiana this weekend just yet. The last time the two teams played in Bloomington, then-No. 17 Michigan needed an overtime touchdown to fend off the Hoosiers.

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