After a career game from their starting quarterback, the No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers head into their bye week undefeated.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook completed 18 of 19 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns as Wisconsin tamed the BYU Cougars 40–6 in Provo, Utah, on Saturday.
It’s the third straight game the southpaw has thrown for over 200 yards. He also broke the school’s single-game completion percentage record previously held by Darrell Bevell (set against Northwestern on Nov. 9, 1993).
Eight different receivers caught passes in the win while true freshman tailback Jonathan Taylor continued the impressive start to his collegiate career. Wisconsin (3-0) rolled up 491 yards of offense in a balanced attack (235 rushing, 256 passing).
Defensively, Jim Leonhard’s unit held BYU (1-3) and its offense to 192 total yards (81 rushing, 111 passing) with quarterback Beau Hoge starting in place of the injured Tanner Mangum.
The game started off well for Wisconsin, as Hoge’s first pass was intercepted by inside linebacker T.J. Edwards and returned to the BYU 35-yard line. The Badgers couldn’t push it in for a touchdown, but redshirt junior Rafael Gaglianone’s 23-yard field goal led to a 3–0 advantage.
Hoge and the Cougars’ offense rebounded quickly with a 14-play, 61-yard drive that could have ended with a touchdown, but Wisconsin’s defense held to a 31-yard field goal.
Wisconsin answered the next series as Hornibrook found true freshman wide receiver Danny Davis for a 50-yard gain down to the BYU 25-yard line. Five plays later, Taylor punched it in from one yard out to give the Badgers a 10–3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Taylor finished the afternoon with 128 yards on 18 carries and the score.
After holding BYU to a three-and-out featuring former Wisconsin quarterback Austin Kafentzis, the Badgers’ offense again drove down the field impressively. Eight of the nine plays on that drive were runs, and they were capped off with Hornibrook finding wide receiver Quintez Cephus for a nine-yard touchdown pass on a 3rd-and-5 to extend the advantage to 14 points.
Cephus, the true sophomore who caught five passes for 54 yards on the afternoon, was not finished in the first half. A 15-yard touchdown catch finished a 10-play, 83-yard drive that included seven passes (six completions, with the only incompletion on a drop by Davis).
BYU added a late field goal to end the first half down 24-6 after a 50-yard completion from Hoge to wide receiver Micah Simon landed the Cougars in Badgers’ territory.
Hoge finished the game 11-of-20 for 111 yards and two interceptions.
#Badgers Off. stats:— Bucky's 5th Quarter (@B5Q) September 16, 2017
Hornibrook 10-of-11 149 yds 2 TDs
J. Taylor 12 car. 86 yds 1 TD
Cephus 4 rec. 43 yds 2 TD
Davis 2 rec. 67 yds (long 50)
Wisconsin added two more touchdowns through the air in the second half. A seven-play, 78-yard drive ended with Hornibrook finding true sophomore wide receiver A.J. Taylor for an 18-yard score with 2:59 left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Hornibrook ended his day by finding his All-American tight end candidate in redshirt senior Troy Fumagalli for a 19-yard touchdown. That was on a 3rd-and-18 to make the score 38-6.
Fumagalli only had two receptions in the game, but went for 39 yards receiving.
A late safety with initial pressure from outside linebacker Tyler Johnson with help from Christian Bell forced Hoge to fumble out of the end zone to cap the game’s scoring at 40-6.
A week after allowing only 50 yards in the final two quarters to Florida Atlantic, Wisconsin’s defense stifled BYU’s offense, holding the Cougars to only 25 on four drives in the second half.
Redshirt freshman cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams led the team in tackles with eight and recorded his first career interception in the fourth quarter. Outside linebacker Leon Jacobs and defensive end Alec James each recorded six tackles in the dominant defensive effort.
Wisconsin now has a bye week before starting conference play on Sept. 30 against Northwestern at Camp Randall Stadium.