Unranked Cougars Knock Off No.6 Wisconsin

Unranked Cougars Knock Off No.6 Wisconsin

Football

Unranked Cougars Knock Off No.6 Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. – This was not what the University of Wisconsin had in mind for its final tune-up before Big Ten conference began next week. At least now the Badgers can flip the page, even though this afternoon will have long-stemming consequences on the national stage.

Continuing to play well below its national rankings, No.6 Wisconsin finally had the bottom drop out in a stunning 24-21 loss to BYU in front of a despondent Camp Randall Stadium crowd Saturday.

“It’s a good (BYU) football team, we thought that coming in,” head coach Paul Chryst said. “In the locker room, guys are hurting right now … We have to own our part in that.”

Losing a nonconference home game for the first time in 15 years, Wisconsin (2-1) was generally outplayed through long stretches of the game and couldn’t overcome too many mental mistakes, unforced penalties and missed opportunities.

UW had a chance to force overtime in the final minute but senior kicker Rafael Gaglianone pushed his 42-yard field goal wide left with 36 seconds left, setting off a wild celebration on the BYU sideline.

The Badgers pummeled the Cougars, 40-6, last September in Provo, Utah, with a balanced offense and dominant defensive stands. A year later things looked completely different.

Wisconsin offensively was a mess. A year ago Wisconsin opened up the run by Alex Hornibrook throwing for 256 yards on 18-for-19 passing. This year Hornibrook and his group were not on point. Hornibrook threw an ugly interception near the beginning of the third quarter that helped BYU take a 21-14 lead and the running game never found a steady diet of gaps.

It got so stagnate that UW subbed out All-American offensive linemen Tyler Biadasz, Beau Benzschawel and David Edwards late in the third quarter and replaced them with their backups to generate a spark. It worked, sort of, until UW jumped offsides on a fourth-and-1 attempt.

The starting unit did eventually return, but the Badgers never showed any semblance of rhythm.

Defensively Wisconsin was gashed, pushed and tricked, the latter coming on a backward lateral that led to a 31-yard touchdown pass that put the hosts up 14-7 early in the second quarter. UW didn’t force a three-and-out until the third quarter but never fully locked down the Cougars.

Shortly after UW tied the score at 21 early in the fourth quarter, BYU tailback Squally Canada (11 carries, 118 yards and two touchdowns) went 46 yards to the Wisconsin 29. It was one of six plays that gained at least 18 yards for the Cougars and led to a 45-yard field goal and a 24-21 lead.

UW had one last chance to salvage something with 3 minutes, 45 seconds after a stout defensive stand (the Badgers allowed only 92 yards in the second half) put the offense on its own 8. The Badgers moved the ball with ease down to the BYU 24 before stalling out, setting up Gaglianone’s missed opportunity.

The journey doesn’t get any easier for Wisconsin, which must travel to Iowa City next Saturday for a primetime matchup against the Hawkeyes.

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