After his performance last week against Nebraska, his teammates raved about what Taylor has accomplished so far and what’s ahead.
“He’s almost a legend and he’s not even through his second year yet,” Wisconsin tight end Jake Ferguson told the Wisconsin State Journal.
“He’s got guys hanging on him and he’s still running faster than most of us.
“Watching him run is incredible. You can’t arm tackle the guy. You can barely tackle the guy anyway. He’s a great player, and I’m excited to see what he can do the rest of the season.”
Against Michigan last season, Taylor rushed for 132 yards on 19 carries but did not score a rushing touchdown in the Badgers’ victory.
The Wolverines’ defensive players have adopted a new mantra this season, basically a this-is-our-house-you’ve-gotto-beat-us approach.
“As a defense, we hold ourselves accountable and we know that it’s disrespectful of you coming into our own home and think that you’re going to run the ball on us,” linebacker Devin Gil said this week.
Gil said he assumes Taylor must feel “a lot of expectations” knowing he has to run against the nation’s top-rated defense.
“We’re just going to come out and handle our business and make sure that everything that does happen for him, doesn’t,” Gil said.
“He does well inside the box, pound for pound, but the type of defense that we bring and the type of mentality we bring, I don’t see nothing fazing us.”
Mike Zordich, who coaches the cornerbacks for Michigan, said Wisconsin’s run game opens up the pass for quarterback Alex Hornibrook. He described the Badgers’ running backs as more north and south runners versus Maryland’s running backs last week who tried to hit perimeter runs.
It will be strength on strength when Taylor runs against Michigan’s defense.
“It’s two teams, one defense that likes to pound with the offense,” Zordich said. “It’s a great matchup. It’s going to be a fun night.”
Bush said defending Maryland’s rushing attack was good preparation for Taylor and the Badgers. He is a patient runner, and they have to be disciplined.
“Play your keys, do your job and plays will come to you and make the plays that come to you,” Bush said.
While it’s absolutely key for Michigan to slow Taylor and the rushing attack, Hornibrook will be an issue, as well. In his last 10 road games, all wins for the Badgers, he has completed 68 percent of his throws for 18 touchdowns against three interceptions.
But Michigan’s defense prides itself on stopping the run and this will go a long way toward proving that.
“First of all, it’s our house,” safety Josh Metellus said. “We’ve got to make sure we beat Wisconsin. We focus on Michigan first, what we have to do and everybody does their job.
“Now they’ve got to beat (us). They’ve got to beat us one on one, they’ve got to beat us man on man, they’ve got to beat us. ”
First, they have to “beat” Taylor. He’s on an incredible pace this year, as Zoridch said, it will be a pound-it-out offense against a pound-it-out defense.
If Taylor has another big game, it will be another step for him in the Heisman conversation.
That’s not his concern, though.
“The Heisman stuff, that’s all at the end of the year,” Taylor told the Wisconsin State Journal. “What matters right now is Michigan.”