Five Takeaways from Wisconsin’s 24-21 Loss To BYU

Five Takeaways from Wisconsin’s 24-21 Loss To BYU

Football

Five Takeaways from Wisconsin’s 24-21 Loss To BYU

Defense Needs Vast Improvement

After losing seven starters from last year’s defense, Wisconsin is still trying to get the newer faces up to speed and acclimated. The work that still needs to be done showed Saturday with the Cougars outgaining the Badgers offensively in the first half and delivering timely strikes. After UW scored first, BYU marched right down and tied the game at seven. UW allowed another score in the first half off a wide receiver pass following a lateral, as BYU’s Aleva Hifo hit a wide-open target behind the Badgers’ defense. Losing outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel early in the game to a leg injury proved to be a big hit, especially with the rush defense. BYU finished with 191 yards on 28 attempts, a gaudy 6.8 yards per carry.

Slow Starts

This is the third week in a row that Wisconsin has struggled to come out of the gates firing. After only being up 10-7 at half against New Mexico last week, the Badgers went into the locker room fortunate to be tied at 14. BYU outgained and outplayed UW throughout the first half, foreshadowing of what was coming the rest of the way. With a tough road Big Ten night game coming up, the Badgers need to shore some things up early on in games.

Lack of Energy

As the third quarter ended and House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ played, the Cougars were the ones doing the jumping. The Badgers’ sideline stood still as BYU gushed with the energy they displayed from the first snap. Whether it was the heat or something else, it appeared the Badgers’ hearts were not in this game. In a fourth quarter where the team could have used some energy, the sideline uncharacteristically stood stoically. Wisconsin needs to show more heart as the season moves forward.

Winning the Line of Scrimmage

It’s a rarity that Wisconsin doesn’t win the battle in the trenches against an unranked opponent, but the Cougars did a great job of plugging holes on defense and opening them on offense. BYU’s offensive line successfully protecting QB Tanner Mangum (one sack allowed, for hurries), but the defense didn’t do near enough to put pressure on him. Late in the fourth quarter, the Cougars still had the Badgers edged in rushing yards, which is an unusual site to see. Although Jonathan Taylor got his usual 100 yards rushing, BYU did a great job of preventing him from breaking a big run off (long of 15, no scores).

Hornibrook Struggles

After not being asked to do much in last week’s contest against New Mexico, Hornibrook struggled throughout the afternoon. Forced to play catch up the final three quarters, more was put on Hornibrook’s shoulders and he didn’t respond well. Finishing 18-for-28 for 190 passing yards, Hornibrook threw no touchdowns, missed a number of open throws, took unnecessary chances and badly underthrew an out route that led to the Cougars’ only touchdown in the second half.

He made up for some of the poor play on UW’s last drive of the game, going 5-for-7 and scrambling 16 yards for a first down, but the success was moot when Rafael Gaglianone missed a 42-yard field goal with 36 seconds left that would have tied the game. Three drops from his targets didn’t help his cause, but Hornibrook needs to perform better if the Badgers want to have success in conference play.

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