BYU-Wisconsin grades: Cougars earn high marks in win over Wisconsin
Daily Herald BYU football beat writer Jared Lloyd evaluates the performance of every position group and the coaches from the BYU-Wisconsin game at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday.
Tanner Mangum wasn’t a brilliant superstar, but he made just enough plays to get the Cougars three TDs and a field goal, while not turning the ball over and managing the game.
Squally Canada was a beast, breaking off a pair of game-changing runs while also finishing them off with two touchdown runs. Lopini Katoa also made some nice plays.
The Cougar offensive linemen deserve tremendous credit for the BYU win. While they weren’t perfect, they went on the road against a physical opponent and took their game to another level.
This group didn’t have a lot of opportunities to make catches and missed a couple the athletes would’ve loved to have back, but overall played well. Aleva Hifo’s running on the fly sweep early helped the Cougars spread out the Badger defense.
Against likely the toughest line they will face all year, the Cougar defensive front made an emphatic statement. No, BYU wasn’t perfect, but it never let Wisconsin impose its will on the game. Instead, the Cougars stood tall and got stops when they had to.
Sione Takitaki stepped into the spotlight and proved he can be a tremendous difference-maker. Zayne Anderson had a crucial interception that set up BYU’s last touchdown. Other linebackers rotated in and made plays as well.
While the Cougar defensive front seven faced the brunt of the physical Wisconsin offense, the secondary not only had to limit the Badger passing game but also come up and ensure running plays didn’t turn into big gainers. The BYU defensive backs proved up to the challenge.
Skyler Southam didn’t let a 52-yard miss prevent him from making the game-winning 45-yarder, showing tremendous poise. Gavin Fowler’s hold was crucial as well. Rhett Almond also had some big punts to pin the Badgers deep in their own territory.
The Cougars came in with not just a solid game plan but a winning mentality. The BYU coaches rallied the team from last week’s loss to play one of the best games in Cougar history. That type of achievement — even with the miscues — deserves the highest marks.