Sixth ranked Wisconsin looks to go 3-0 at home this Saturday against BYU. Here’s what you need to know before the 2:30 CT kickoff.
The Story This Week
Two good, but not completely dominant wins for the Badgers have led to the team dropping two spots in the polls from where they were in week one. While winning is most important, it would be beneficial for Wisconsin to start strong against an unranked BYU team. Slow starts have become common for Wisconsin, and in a season like this, things need to change. With making the playoffs being a realistic goal this season, the Badgers need to figure out how to play strong for four quarters. Against teams like Michigan and Penn State, slow starts aren’t going to fly. This game is a chance to start a new trend.
Badgers to Watch
After a two-game suspension, Danny Davis is back. The sophomore wide receiver should be able to open up a new dimension to the passing game as a deep threat for Hornibrook. Last week Hornibrook only threw eight completions in 11 tries, with A.J. Taylor catching five. Davis may coax offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph to go to the air more often, but it really depends on what Jonathan Taylor does. As the other Badger to keep an eye on, Taylor will continue his Heisman campaign against the Cougars. Last week he carried the ball 33 times for 253 yards, and his success may determine whether Davis will see the ball much on Saturday. If the running game is going strong, then we may see a repeat of last week with Wisconsin staying on the ground for most of the game. However, more important than touches is ball security for Taylor. The sophomore back has now fumbled in both games this season, and a third turnover against BYU would be a troubling sign for an otherwise great running back.
This game will be another good test for Wisconsin’s secondary before conference season starts. BYU had its struggles last year, due in part to quarterback Tanner Mangum rupturing his Achilles last season. This season the senior is back, helping to lead the Cougars past Arizona and keep the team close in a close loss to Cal. The Badgers’ defensive backs have so far stepped up to the challenges they’ve faced, with the group recording three interceptions in two games. Scott Nelson in particular has shown great instincts and could be a star for the Badgers. If the secondary continues trending upward, then Badger fans can feel confident heading into a tough conference schedule. A step back from this group could mean that the Cougars hang close for longer than Wisconsin wants, and question marks will follow the secondary deeper into the season.