Friday’s college football: Heavily favored Wisconsin won’t overlook Central Michigan

Associated Press
Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor piled up 183 all-purpose yards and four scores last week against South Florida.

Madison, Wis. — Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor had the first two receiving touchdowns of his career in a win last week at South Florida. The 49-0 victory was the Badgers’ most lopsided road shutout since 1983.

No. 17 Wisconsin (1-0) now sets its sights on Central Michigan (1-0), a team that won just one game a season ago.

Despite Central Michigan’s lack of recent success, and a collision with seventh-ranked Michigan to open Big Ten play next week, Taylor and the Badgers insist they are not overlooking the 35-point underdog Chippewas.

“They’re a very good program,” said Taylor, who piled up 183 all-purpose yards and four scores against South Florida. “Those guys have some dudes, especially last year. They lost a lot of guys. But from the film that we saw, they plugged in very well. The guys that were behind those guys, they plugged in very well.”

Measuring stick for Texas

The last time Texas faced an SEC opponent, the Longhorns romped and quarterback Sam Ehlinger roared: “We’re back!”

Fast forward nine months and the biggest game in Austin in more than a decade will measure just how far they’ve come. And unlike Georgia back in the Sugar Bowl, no will say anything about LSU not wanting to be there.

The No. 6 Tigers (1-0) and No. 9 Longhorns (1-0) meet in a showdown tonight that is one of the marquee nonconference games of the season.

Win this one and the Longhorns aren’t just back, they are part of the playoff conversation. Same for the Tigers, who boast arguably their most talented lineup since their last SEC championship in 2011.

Of course, both will have to get through their conferences first, but Saturday night’s winner leaves the field with huge momentum for the 2019 season.

“It’s important for us. We kind of understand that to get to where we want to go as a program, that we’re going to have to play in and win these kinds of games,” Texas coach Tom Herman said. “But I also know that (Big 12 Commissioner) Bob Bowlsby is not going to be handing out the Big 12 championship trophy after this game, either … We know there is a bigger picture goal out there, as well.”

For Texas, everything starts with Ehlinger, a dual-threat quarterback who is drawing comparisons to former Florida Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. Beyond his ability to run and throw for touchdowns, Ehlinger has brought a swagger to the position not seen in Austin since Vince Young and Colt McCoy fueled a decade of dominance that ended in 2009.

Facing him across the line of scrimmage is an LSU defense dotted with players projected as future NFL first-round draft picks. And the Tigers unveiled a new up-tempo offense last week that saw quarterback Joe Burrow tie a school record with five touchdown passes — in the first half.

Accusers hire attorney

Two women who accused Quintez Cephus of sexual assault have hired a prominent attorney to investigate Wisconsin officials’ decision to reinstate the Badgers receiver following his acquittal.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports the women have hired John Clune. He represented Deborah Ramirez, who last year accused U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her in the 1980s. He also represented a woman who in 2004 accused then-NBA star Kobe Bryant of sexual assault.

Cephus’ accusers said he sexually assaulted them at his apartment in April 2018. He was charged in August 2018 and kicked off the football team. He was expelled during the spring semester this year.

University officials reinstated Cephus and let him rejoin the football team after a jury acquitted him last month.

Extra points

South Carolina transfer tight end Nick Muse’s eligibility waiver was granted by the NCAA on Friday, clearing him to play this season for the Gamecocks.

... Beer and wine will be sold at home football games for Missouri for the first time today.

The Columbia Missourian reports that the taps are opening after the Southeastern Conference made a policy change this spring giving programs the option to sell alcohol in their stadiums.

Such sales had been prohibited by the conference since the early 1970s.