MADISON, Wisconsin — Ty Johnson wasn’t the intended receiver when quarterback Max Bortenschlager’s second pass of the game wobbled a few feet beyond the line of scrimmage and into the grasp of Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Edwards.

But because Johnson was the only Maryland football player within a five-yard radius of the throw, he tried to tackle the 244-pound defender in the open field.

He ended up on his butt, helpless as Edwards took the interception 54 yards for a touchdown. It was the third time this season the Terps’ opening drive resulted in a score for the other team.

“It’s frustrating,” coach DJ Durkin said. “That’s not the way you want to start the game.”

Maryland teetered on the edge of disaster throughout its 38-13 defeat at No. 5 Wisconsin, committing two turnovers and barely avoiding a third when it recovered its own fumble in the third quarter. The Terps have now lost four of their past five contests.

But much like in Maryland’s 62-14 setback at Ohio State two weeks earlier, there were chances to build confidence in a hostile road environment. Again, Durkin’s offense failed to deliver.

“Our margin for error is much smaller right now,” Durkin said. “Everybody knows that it is. So we’ve got to make the plays when they’re there, and we’re not doing that all the time.”

The Terps (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) punted after defensive back Josh Woods intercepted a deep ball about six minutes into the game. They only managed a field goal after Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor fumbled on his own five-yard line later in the quarter.

“We took it as a challenge,” Wisconsin linebacker Garrett Dooley said. “They had five yards to go, we did not let them in the end zone and they ended up with three points. I think that was a huge momentum swing.”

Even Maryland’s first drive, which ended in the interception return, began with three Johnson carries for 28 yards, a welcome sight after the junior struggled in his previous two games. The Cumberland native finished with 83 yards against the Badgers (7-0, 4-0).

Taylor, meanwhile, wore down Maryland’s defense as he continued his dominant freshman campaign. After gaining just 18 yards on the ground in the first quarter, he rushed for 108 over the next three periods, gashing a unit defensive coordinator Andy Buh insisted this past week was not allowing “fairly easy” ball movement.

The Terps have let opponents exceed 200 rushing yards in three straight games.

“[Taylor] is a very good running back,” linebacker Jermaine Carter said. “He kind of reminds me of [Penn State running back] Saquon Barkley. I played against [Barkley] when he was a freshman. … [Taylor] has a nice little one cut and go, so he’s a nice player and he’s gonna be good for some time.”

Maryland scored 10 unanswered points in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 15, showing what Johnson called “a new fire” after an intense locker room talk at halftime.

But the Badgers responded with a grueling 11-play, 76-yard drive that ended in a game-sealing touchdown run from fullback Austin Ramesh. Despite signs of life from the offense in the second half, the Terps left Camp Randall disappointed at their third consecutive double-digit defeat.

“No progress,” Carter said. “We lost the game. We don’t believe in moral victories. When we go out there to play, we expect to win. We’re not into pats on the back.”