Wis­con­sin’s Tay­lor wins the Doak Walker Award

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Sports - Jeff Potrykus Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sen­tinel USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - WIS­CON­SIN

MADI­SON - Last month, Wis­con­sin sopho­more Jonathan Tay­lor was named the best run­ning back in the Big Ten Con­fer­ence.

On Thurs­day, Tay­lor was named the best run­ning back in the na­tion when he won the Doak Walker Award.

Tay­lor is the fourth UW player to win the Doak Walker Award, given an­nu­ally to the best run­ning back in the na­tion. He joins Ron Dayne (1999), Mon­tee Ball (2012) and Melvin Gor­don (2014).

“The guys that won it at my school, they’re some of the best to ever run the ball,” Tay­lor said af­ter re­ceiv­ing his award at the Home De­pot Col­lege Foot­ball Awards show in At­lanta. “To be men­tioned with those guys ... I’m very ap­pre­cia­tive.”

Tay­lor en­ters the Dec. 27 Pin­stripe Bowl against Mi­ami No. 1 na­tion­ally in rush­ing yards per game (165.8). That is 19 yards more per game than the No.

2 rusher, Dar­rell Hen­der­son of Mem­phis. His av­er­age of 7.1 yards per carry is No. 9 na­tion­ally.

Tay­lor has rushed for at least 100 yards in 11 of 12 games this sea­son. He has rushed for at least 150 yards in six games, in­clud­ing four games with at least 200 yards.

He has 52 gains of at least 10 yards, the No. 1 mark among FBS play­ers.

Chris Fowler of ESPN asked Tay­lor how he kept grind­ing away dur­ing a reg­u­lar sea­son in which UW fin­ished just 5-4 in the Big Ten and 7-5 over­all.

“Just the look in the se­niors’ faces,” he said. “We had three se­niors in the run­ning back room ... and I just wanted to make sure I did ev­ery­thing in my power to help send those guys off on the best note I could.”

Tay­lor ex­plained the im­por­tance of clos­ing the sea­son at Yan­kee Sta­dium, close to home­town of Salem, N.J.

“I’m prob­a­bly al­ready at 25 tick­ets so I’m go­ing to have to keep ask­ing some of my team­mates,” he said. “I’ll be able to have my fam­ily and friends there.

“It should be great.”

Tay­lor

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