Michi­gan

The Detroit News - - Col­lege Foot­ball -

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.”

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