After a performance with a few more moments of terror because New Mexico could run a little, the Badgers pulled off a second verse, same as the first thirty-one point win over the Lobos but dropped one spot (again) in the AP rankings. This week, Brigham Young comes to town, and the Cougars fans are out to drink root beer and hope Tanner Mangum comes up with a massive upset. Will they?
You know I’m willing to let you know.
Likely case: After Wisconsin went to Provo and came out with a 40-6 beat ‘em down last year, the Cougars will come out hot on Saturday. They have enough of an offense between Tanner Mangum, Squally Canada, and the tight ends—Moroni Laulu-Pututau and 2017 Freshman All-American Matt Bushman—to matriculate down the field. In fact, while they don’t have a dominant receiver beyond Laulu-Pututau, Mangum has eight targets between three and five catches (and Gunner Romney has two grabs in just one game). They will take what a defense gives them, and it will cause the Badgers to give up an early touchdown or two.
That said, this is another game where running back Jonathan Taylor has enough space to gain more Heisman ground. BYU is currently 85th in Rushing yards per attempt—this against the current 115th-ranked (Arizona), and 87th-ranked rush offenses (California) on a per play basis. While the story of how Kevin Sumlin’s put a semi governor on how Khalil Tate plays is another story for another blog, what it means for you is that even without the return of wide receiver Danny Davis to the passing game, this is set up to be another game where the Badgers are super comfortable in the fourth quarter and yet somehow go into the Iowa game ranked No. 7 in the country.
Best Case: Apologies to punter Anthony Lotti and all his fans, but he’s only going to make an appearance in the fourth quarter. BYU has struggled getting off the field the last two weeks, and with a passing game now having Davis, last year’s efficient-as-heck version of Alex Hornibrook makes a return and every time the Badgers touch the ball, they move it. I know what you might be saying.
“Surely, there has to be a turnover.”
There are no turnovers. They get stopped by halftime, and BYU isn’t exactly a team that hits home runs on offense, but the Badgers score 45 and somehow actually move up the rankings.
It seems the impossible dream, but it actually happens.
Worst Case: Tanner Mangum leaves the game, but Joe Critchlow keeps the Cougars right there with Wisconsin. Critchlow leaves the game, but a late Beau Hoge touchdown pass gets the Cougars back within one score. There’s a Jonathan Taylor fumble inside the ten that BYU recovers, but then Hoge goes down too. Who do they turn to?
You guessed it, former Wisconsin quarterback (for a spring semester) Austin Kafentzis. Despite needing to go 94 yards in two minutes, he does exactly that with a kickoff to spare. BYU wins 31-30. Badgers fans do not take this well.