The Badgers will head to Utah this Saturday to face off against the BYU cougars, most famously known for legendary quarterback Steve Young. This will be the Badgers’ last game before they kick off the Big 10 season.
This is the game Alex Hornibrook will break out. BYU’s run defense is no joke, and was able to completely stop Utah’s running game last week. If the Cougars are able to silence Jonathan Taylor and the rest of the Wisconsin running backs, Hornibrook will have no choice other than to throw the ball. Hornibrook likes to rely on his safety cushion, senior tight end Troy Fumagalli, but he needs to find a way to get speedy receivers Jazz Peavy and Quintez Cephus more involved in the game. AJ Taylor and Danny Davis both have more yards than Jazz Peavy, and once the Badgers start facing Big 10 opponents they will need to get everyone in their offense involved.
BYU’s offense is atrocious. With that being said, Wisconsin’s defense should have a fun day. Nick Nelson, Derrick Tindal, D’Cota Dixon and the rest of the secondary should be able to easily handle the BYU receivers, and the defensive line will get to work against a running back group that average a lowly 76 yards per game. Wisconsin’s defense hasn’t allowed offenses to drive very often in their first two games, only allowing 191 yards of total rushing and boasting a completion percentage of 56%. Wisconsin’s defense will likely dominate the BYU Cougars, who haven’t been able to find a groove all season.
Wisconsin will be tested on the road for the first time. It will be key to see how this team can perform without the roaring crowd at Camp Randall to pump them up when needed. Although Badger fans travel quite well, the players will need to rely on themselves, their gameplay, discipline and energy to bring a win back to Madison. Most of Wisconsin’s big games happen at home this year (mainly Michigan and Northwestern), but they will have to face an energized Minnesota team on the road, and this game against the BYU Cougars will help prepare the Badgers for that task.
Has Jonathan Taylor grabbed the starting running back role from Chris James and Bradrick Shaw? It’s no secret that Jonathan Taylor has been the star out of Wisconsin’s backfield this season. Taylor already has over 300 yards on the ground. Chris James quietly has 116 yards, and Bradrick Shaw, who sat out last week against Florida Atlantic, has 86 yards. Taylor has also come away with the most points, having scored 4 touchdowns. It will be interesting to see how the running back battle boils down as the big games inch closer, but for now freshman Jonathan Taylor seems to be leading the pack.
Wisconsin will look to go out strong before the bye. Wisconsin’s bye is conveniently set up before the Badgers begin Big 10 play. After BYU they will have an extra week torecharge before the Northwestern Wildcats come to town. I can’t think of a better way to go into your bye week than with a road win against a historic team, before facing some of your biggest rivals.
The Badgers kick off at 2:30pm CST from Provo, Utah against the BYU Cougars.