BLOOMINGTON – Jonathan Taylor set up No. 4 Wisconsin with a flurry of inside jabs Saturday. Alec Ingold delivered the scoring punches.
Taylor ran for 183 yards and one score and Ingold scored three touchdowns on five touches to lead the Badgers to a 45-17 victory at Indiana, keeping them in the shrinking group of unbeaten teams.
“We wanted to come out and set the tone,” said Taylor, who had a 45-yard run on his first carry after being listed as questionable all week with a bad ankle.
It wasn't as easy or as impressive as the final score indicated.
All that mattered, though, was Wisconsin (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten, No. 9 CFP) stayed in the playoff hunt by extending the nation's second-longest winning streak to 10 and its school record of consecutive conference victories to 12.
This victory gives the Badgers an opportunity to take an even bigger step next weekend. Beat Iowa at home and they'll clinch the West Division title and their fifth trip in seven years to the Big Ten Championship game.
Perhaps that will show the selection committee Wisconsin is a legitimate contender.
For now, beating the Hoosiers (3-6, 0-6) will have to suffice.
Just 16 minutes into the game, the Badgers were trailing 10-0.
But with Taylor gashing the Indiana defense, Bradrick Shaw and Garrett Groshek filling in and Ingold doing the dirty work, Indiana wore down.
Wisconsin took the lead by scoring 24 consecutive points and finally seized control when Taylor, the Big Ten leader in yards rushing and TD runs, broke free for a 32-yard touchdown.
Indiana cut the deficit to 24-17 with 4:12 left in the third quarter, but then the Badgers' defense started throwing its weight around.
Joe Ferguson picked off passes on each of Indiana's next two possessions, and Wisconsin took advantage of the short field with 1-yard scoring runs from Ingold both times to make it 38-17.
“We played a great football team today, but when you're minus in the takeaway ratio you're not going to win,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “To me, that's what it came down to.”
Starting quarterback Peyton Ramsey sat out with a right knee injury. But the Hoosiers escaped another major injury when receiver Luke Timian got hit around the head as he was trying to field a second-quarter punt. Timian left briefly but later returned.
Richard Lagow started in place of Ramsey and finished 20 of 34 for 226 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. The Hoosiers had 21 carries for 40 yards. Simmie Cobbs Jr., Whop Philyor and Luke Timian each had five catches.
Note: After trailing 24-17 heading into the fourth quarter, the Hoosiers added yet another chapter to a season filled with frustrating close calls. They're 0-3 against the top-five this season and 0-5 against the Top 25.