September is quickly turning into a month of horrors for BYU. While the Cougars offense has been atrocious, it was the defense’s turn to head South on Saturday as well, allowing Wisconsin to roll to an easy 40-6 victory that they controlled from the opening kickoff until the final few minutes.
Badgers quarterback Alex Hornibrook was the main reason why the team won their marquee non-conference road game, completing a nearly perfect afternoon in Provo by going 18/19 — the one incompletion was a bobbled drop — for 256 yards and four touchdown. Freshman tailback Jonathan Taylor joined in on the fun to continue his impressive run in the backfield by rushing for 128 yards and a score, literally using his big offensive line to run right over a typically stout BYU defense.
That the team put up nearly 500 yards of offense without involving star tight end Troy Fumagalli much (two catches, 39 yards and a touchdown) is also an encouraging sign for Paul Chryst’s squad as they enter Big Ten play in two weeks against Northwestern.
Wisconsin’s defense looked as good as ever in the picturesque setting under the Wasatch front but it was hard to tell if it was just the visitors being that good or the home team being that bad offensively. Beau Hoge struggled in his first start taking over for the injured Tanner Mangum (in a walking boot and scooter on the sidelines after an injury against Utah), completing just 11 passes for 111 yards while also throwing two interceptions. He didn’t get much help from his normally solid offensive line or run game either, with freshman Ula Tolutau managing to lead the ground game with only 58 yards.
The loss caps off a brutal run for the Cougars against Power Five competition, being outscored 86-19 in three losses to LSU, Utah and Wisconsin and managing to find the end zone just twice in 12 quarters. Things do ease up a tad on the schedule the rest of the way but it’s clear there are big questions that head coach Kalani Sitake and company have to answer going forward.
Meanwhile, the Badgers managed to pass their biggest test of the first half of the season with flying colors and may have an even better offense than first thought coming into the year. With Michigan likely being the only ranked team left on the schedule, Hornibrook and Wisconsin may be eyeing yet another division title and trip to a New Year’s Six bowl if they can continue to roll like this.