In a stunning development, it turns out that Wisconsinites (gasp!) like their beer.
Of course, it’s neither stunning nor a development that the state of Wisconsin tends to imbibe more than most others, as survey after survey after survey has suggested. This past weekend, a pair of Provo bars — in fact, the only two bar bars in the entire Mormon-heavy city — bore witness to the alcohol monolith that is the state in general and its college football fans in particular.
The Wisconsin Badgers invaded Provo Saturday for its Week 3 matchup with the BYU Cougars. With its fans in tow, it seemed as if the whole of the college football world was just daring Badger Nation to drink the city dry, a challenge from which they didn’t back down.
The damage? Both bars reported that they had their best financial weekends ever, thanks in very large part to the thirst of Badger Fan.
“Financially, it‘s the biggest day I’ve ever had here,” ABG’s Libation Emporium owner Gary Whitling told the Salt Lake Tribune, stating that he did triple the amount of business he would’ve normally done. For those curious, Wisconsinites mostly quenched their collective thirsts with Bud Light and Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey.
Despite the copious amount of imbibing, there were few if any incidents involving the out-of-towners, which serves s a significant testament to the fan base.
“It was a wonderful thing,” Whitling said. “The people from Wisconsin are fabulous. They‘re the nicest, funnest people we’ve ever had here.”
Mississippi State has leapt from the ranks of the unranked all the way to No. 17 in the latest AP poll, released Sunday afternoon.
The Bulldogs walloped then-No. 12 LSU 37-7 in Starkville on Saturday evening, the club’s largest margin of victory in the 111-game history of the series. Additionally, Mississippi State’s road blowout victory over Louisiana Tech became even more impressive when the red-and-blue Bulldogs went on the road and beat defending Conference USA champion Western Kentucky.
Elsewhere, San Diego State, Utah and Oregon made their 2017 debuts in the AP poll, replacing Kansas State, Stanford, Tennessee and UCLA. Clemson’s 47-21 drubbing of Louisville allowed the Tigers to nudge past Oklahoma for the No. 2 spot in the poll and pull within 60 points of the No. 1 ranking.
The full poll:
- Alabama — 1,504 total points (45 first-place votes)
- Clemson — 1,446 (15)
- Oklahoma — 1,432 (1)
- Penn State — 1,306
- USC — 1,241
- Oklahoma State — 1,154
- Washington — 1,141
- Michigan — 1,081
- Wisconsin — 1,031
- Ohio State — 1,015
- Georgia — 940
- Florida State — 922
- Virginia Tech — 730
- Miami — 606
- Auburn — 596
- TCU — 553
- Mississippi State — 532
- Washington State — 419
- Louisville — 356
- Florida — 308
- South Florida — 272
- San Diego State — 201
- Utah — 194
- Oregon — 158
- LSU — 153
The lesser of the two exhibition polls was released early Sunday afternoon, and Alabama held off Clemson for the No. 1 spot. There was some thought the Tigers could pass the Tide after their second consecutive impressive victory, but Alabama generated 59 first-place votes to Clemson’s six.
Elsewhere, Mississippi State was this week’s highest climber, jumping into the poll at No. 19. Their victim, LSU, plummeted from No. 12 to No. 23.
Additionally, Stanford, Kansas State and UCLA dropped out after their respective losses Saturday, and Oregon and San Diego State joined the Bulldogs as 2017 newcomers to the poll.
The full poll:
- Alabama — 1,618 total points (59 first-place votes)
- Clemson — 1,535 (6)
- Oklahoma — 1,505
- Penn State — 1,364
- USC — 1,348
- Washington — 1,277
- Oklahoma State — 1,219
- Michigan — 1,171
- Ohio State — 1,052
- Wisconsin — 1,032
- Florida State — 985
- Georgia — 978
- Virginia Tech — 775
- Miami — 659
- TCU — 602
- Auburn — 555
- South Florida — 446
- Washington State — 441
- Mississippi State — 412
- Louisville — 382
- Utah — 324
- Florida — 312
- LSU — 243
- Oregon — 208
- San Diego State — 141
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.
BYU’s offense has been lackluster to start the 2017 season and they didn’t get much respite in their Week 3 matchup against Wisconsin’s stifling defense. As a result, the combination of a backup quarterback for the Cougars and an efficient performance from the visitors on both sides of the ball allowed the Badgers to hold a 24-6 lead going into the locker room at halftime in Provo.
Wisconsin tailback Jonathan Taylor picked up where he left of last week and led the way on the ground with 86 yards rushing and a touchdown that he powered across the goal line. His performance helped take the pressure off his backfield teammate Alex Hornibrook, who wrapped up two quarters worth of work with a near perfect stat line of 10/11 for 149 yards and two scores. Perhaps the biggest surprise for Paul Chryst’s offense was how much of that passing game didn’t have to rely on stud tight end Troy Fumagalli (just one catch for 20 yards).
With BYU starting quarterback Tanner Mangum on the sidelines in a walking boot and scooter, backup Beau Hoge (son of former NFLer Merril Hoge) was okay — if a bit wide-eyed — in his first extended action as the guy behind center but finished with 71 yards passing, an interception and another 25 yards rushing.
We’ll see if a big play that led to a field goal just before halftime could help spark the Cougars in the third quarter but it certainly looks Wisconsin is well on their way to a 3-0 start to the year based on the early returns from this trip out West.