No. 5 Wisconsin aims for clean game vs. Maryland
Maryland Terrapins at Wisconsin Badgers
MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin junior left tackle Michael Deiter dwells on improvement, even after the Badgers rose to No. 5 in this week's rankings.
He looks at the statistics following Wisconsin's 17-9 win over Purdue in which the Badgers committed eight penalties, had three turnovers and had a punt blocked.
"Turnovers, penalties, it makes for a sloppy game," Deiter said. "It's uphill sledding, and it's something we have to fix. It's too many. We've got to get better."
Wisconsin (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) will attempt to get better and maintain its unblemished record on Saturday against Maryland (3-3, 1-2) at Camp Randall Stadium. The Badgers are seeking their first 7-0 mark since 2004.
Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said the mistakes are fixable.
"I think a lot of the negatives come from indecision," Chryst said. "So if you can make sure that your players know what they're doing, how to do it, understand it, then they go out and play. So I think there's a lot you can do during the week, and need to do."
The Badgers have persevered despite some inconsistent play from sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who completed 13 of 18 passes for 199 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions against the Boilermakers.
For the season, Hornibrook has completed 82 of 125 passes (65.60 percent) for 1,210 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions.
The Saturday game will pit two young quarterbacks against each other in Hornibrook and Terrapins sophomore Max Bortenschlager, who has completed 54 of 109 passes (51 percent) for 561 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions.
Because of injuries, Bortenschlager is the third Maryland starter in six games. Maryland coach DJ Durkin said not forcing things and making the right decisions are keys to Bortenschlager's success.
Bortenschlager, in his third start last week, completed 17 of 38 passes for 255 yards and three scores in a 37-21 home loss to Northwestern. He has yet to throw an interception in his three starts and has thrown 83 consecutive passes without a pick, the school's longest streak since Chris Turner went 132 consecutive passes without an interception in 2008.
"Whether that's him delivering the ball down the field or handing the ball off or getting us into the right run -- when he's done that, he's done well, which in turn our offense has done well," Durkin said. "When he hasn't, well, we've seen how that goes. That's really what it comes down to with Max."
Players on defense will have their hands full with two standouts, Maryland junior wide receiver D.J. Moore and Wisconsin freshman running back Jonathan Taylor.
Moore posted career highs with 12 catches and 210 receiving yards in the Northwestern setback. He paces the Big Ten in touchdown catches (seven), receiving yards (624), receiving yards per game (104) and receptions per game (7.3).
Taylor had 30 carries for 219 yards and a touchdown in the win over Purdue to earn his third Big Ten Freshman of the Week award.
Taylor, a true freshman, has accumulated 986 rushing yards in six games. He ranks first in the Big Ten -- and third among FBS players -- with an average of 164.3 rushing yards per game. Taylor is the Big Ten leader with 10 rushing touchdowns.
"He's a freak. It's pretty ridiculous to see some of the runs that he makes," Hornibrook said. "We see him do that every day in practice; we don't always expect him to make it, but we're not always surprised when he does it."
Durkin said he is particularly impressed with the Badgers' tenacity on the line of scrimmage.
"Whether it was right away in some of the (games), or as the game wore on eventually, that's what they did -- they took over at the line of scrimmage," Durkin said. "It will be a great challenge for our guys, on both the offense and defensive line. We've got to be great tacklers on defense.
"They're a tough team to prepare for, and they're good at what they do, obviously. Our guys get it, they understand it, it's a big challenge. I think they'll step up and respond to it."
Maryland didn't respond in the past two games. Ohio State and Northwestern gashed the Terrapins, rushing for 281 and 238 yards, respectively. Central Florida, the other team that defeated Maryland, rushed for 250 yards.
The Saturday game marks the second meeting between Maryland and Wisconsin. The Badgers upended the Terrapins 52-7 in 2014 at Madison.
Updated October 17, 2017