MADISON, Wis. — Jonathan Taylor rushed for two touchdowns, Wisconsin's defense posted its fourth shutout of the season, and the No. 8 Badgers cruised to a 38-0 win over Michigan State on Saturday.
The Spartans' defense held Taylor to 80 yards on 26 carries, marking the first time this season the Heisman Trophy hopeful was held under 100.Get the news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our BuckeyeXtra newsletter
But Michigan State was held to 149 yards, 30 rushing, and couldn't find any rhythm as the Badgers dominated time of possession 39:10 to 20:50.
"I said it last week, those guys are playing lights out. I don't have any other words. They're No. 1 in the nation," Taylor said of his defensive teammates.
Jack Coan completed his first seven passes for Wisconsin (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) and finished 18 of 21 for 180 yards and a touchdown to win his eighth straight start since last season.
The Spartans (4-3, 2-2) lost back-to-back games against AP top-10 Big Ten opponents. Michigan State lost at then-No. 4 Ohio State 34-10 last week.
Brian Lewerke was 7 of 16 for 53 yards and an interception and was sacked twice before getting pulled in the fourth quarter for backup Rocky Lombardi. Lombardi went 5 of 14 for 66 yards and was picked off by Rachad Wildgoose in the end zone late in the fourth quarter to preserve the shutout for Wisconsin's top-ranked defense.
The Badgers last had four shutouts in 1930, when they had five.
Wisconsin did not score a touchdown on its opening drive for the first time this season.
Taylor scored from a yard out, Coan threw a 19-yard touchdown to Quintez Cephus and Collin Larsh kicked a 29-yard field goal to put the Badgers ahead 17-0 at the half.
Michigan State had the ball for less than seven minutes in the first half and managed just one first down and 38 yards the first two quarters.
The Spartans got a little momentum when Tyriq Thompson ran for 20 yards and a first down on a fake punt on Michigan State's first drive of the second half. But back-to-back sacks by Chris Orr and Isaiahh Loudermilk forced yet another Spartans punt.
Taylor opened the fourth quarter with his second touchdown, a 1-yarder than made it 24-0.
Zack Baun picked off Lewerke and returned it 34 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown. The score was the fourth by the Badgers' defense this season. The unit has only allowed four touchdowns all year.
"It was very important. We take pride in that," Wisconsin linebacker Chris Orr said. "I feel like it just shows everybody how dominant our defense is. Whenever you can shut out anybody, it's obviously a dominant display on defense. We take pride in that, for real."