Kent St Wisconsin Football

Wisconsin tight end Jake Ferguson (84) and running back Jonathan Taylor celebrate Taylor’s touchdown against Kent State during the first half Saturday, Oct. 5, in Madison.

Jack Sanborn can’t help but look.

He has things to do when the University of Wisconsin football team’s defense is on the sideline, but he can’t stop his eyes from going to the screens at either end of Camp Randall Stadium to watch his teammate Jonathan Taylor.

“He’s one of those guys, any time he touches the ball you’ve got to watch,” said Sanborn, a sophomore inside linebacker. “I’m always watching the screens like, ‘Oh man, what’s he going to do?’ Today was one of those days where he was hitting those holes, making guys miss, and it seemed like nobody could bring him down.”

Taylor rushed for 186 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries, and added 29 yards and a score on three catches against Kent State in a 48-0 non-conference win. The five touchdowns are a career-best, and tie a program record for TDs in a game.

Credit goes to his offensive line, tight ends and fullbacks for staying on blocks, but Taylor was able to shed tacklers after bursting through holes and break away from defenders with his speed. He moved into third on UW’s all-time rushing list — his 4,916 yards eclipsing Melvin Gordon’s career mark of 4,915.

At this point, UW (5-0) coach Paul Chryst doesn’t have much more he can say about Taylor.

“It’s awesome. It never gets old,” he said. “I know it, we know it, guys are talking about it on the sideline. It’s special. To be able to see it, it’s pretty neat to do.”

Taylor didn’t enter the game again after his 48-yard scoring gallop on the second play of the third quarter. He now sits with 745 yards and 12 touchdowns rushing, 114 yards and four scores receiving this season.

His work over the past two years to improve as a receiver is starting to pay dividends for UW’s offense. Two of his catches against the Golden Flashes (2-3), including his touchdown, came off play-action fakes to him. Where once defenses were off the hook when quarterbacks didn’t hand Taylor the ball, he’s able to take advantage of matchups with linebackers in the passing game.

“All fall and the summer, he was always catching, always at the Jugs (machine),” senior receiver A.J. Taylor said. “You can see how it’s manifesting.

“He’s been running like a maniac. You can tell he wants in that end zone when he gets that ball.”

Every big game from Taylor spurs talk of his chances at winning the Heisman Trophy. He’s quick to turn discussion of individual accolades into something team-centric, but that doesn’t diminish the fun his teammates have watching what Taylor can do.

“It’s just unbelievable. I think it’s just pretty cool how I get to play with him,” junior quarterback Jack Coan said. “I’m probably going to tell my kids one day how I got to play with ‘J.T.’ It’s pretty special.”

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