Jonathan Taylor had two long touchdown runs, Alex Hornibrook threw for 257 yards and two scores and No. 4 Wisconsin opened the season with a 34-3 victory over Western Kentucky on Friday night.
A young defense working in seven new starters forced two red zone turnovers. A.J. Taylor paced the short-handed receiving corps with five catches for 85 yards, while Garrett Groshek turned a screen pass into a 43-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for a 31-point lead.
The Badgers finished with a flurry, scoring on five of six drives after punting on three of their first four possessions.
Leave it to Jonathan Taylor to get the offense going. He finished with 145 yards on 18 carries, even watching most of the fourth quarter from the sideline with the game well in hand for Wisconsin. The dynamic back picked up right where he left off last year, when he rushed for an FBS-record 1,977 yards as a freshman.
Three tight ends and the Badgers' burly offensive line helped spring Taylor for a 47-yard touchdown run in the first quarter Taylor scored from 30 yards with 3:48 left in the second quarter as the Badgers closed the first half with 14 unanswered points.
He had 100 yards and 11 carries by the half, when the Badgers held a 24-0 lead.
Drew Eckels was 15 of 26 for 167 yards in his first career start for the Hilltoppers, while also running for 38 yards on seven carries.
Preseason All-American linebacker T.J. Edwards had seven tackles for the Badgers.
Wisconsin has won 23 straight home openers, and they've won 40 consecutive home games over non-conference opponents.