PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Not many people are giving BYU a chance this Saturday at #6 Wisconsin.
The Badgers are 22-point favorites, and if the Cougars can’t fix their offensive problems, the margin could be a lot worse.
But as bad as the offense looked against Cal, the Cougars did fight to the finish and had a chance at the end.
“You can’t make as many mistakes as we did against Cal and expect to beat them,” said head coach Kalani Sitake. “We had a chance because guys played hard and we never stopped believing. The same goes for this weekend. So if we can minimize the mistakes and keep playing hard, I think we’ll have a lot of success.”
“This is behind us now,” added linebacker Sione Takitaki. “We can’t change anything that happened on the field. We took a loss and we’re going to have to move on. We’ve got a good team coming up.”
This is great team coming up. “The Badgers may even be better than last year’s 13-1 team, a team that beat BYU 40-6 in Provo, and has a Heisman candidate in running back Jonathan Taylor.
“They dominated us last year, and we kind of have a bitter taste in our mouth this year,” said linebacker Zayne Anderson. “Coming back off of this loss this week, we’re really excited and motivated to get this one.”
“They’re stronger,” Sitake said. “They had guys that started against us that are backups now. They have more experience on the line of scrimmage. They’re big and they’re physical, so this will be a great test of us.”
“I know he’s a great running back,” Takitaki said about Taylor. “It’s going to be a good week to go up against a good opponent.”
But BYU is better on both sides of the ball than they were last year, when Beau Hoge started at quarterback in place of the injured Tanner Mangum. Despite throwing two interceptions against Cal, Mangum has Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst a little concerned.
“Last year, we weren’t sure if their quarterback was going to play,” Chryst said. “Now he’s playing, and offensively they’ve got a number of weapons. Defensively, they’ve got really good players, and you see it coming together on special teams. So it’s a week where we’ve got to get better because it’s a good team.”
Asked if he thought about switching quarterbacks on Saturday from Mangum to Zach Wilson, Sitake brushed the question aside.
“We just need to be more efficient every play,” he said. “It wasn’t good enough from everybody. It wasn’t just one guy but everyone’s being evaluated at every position on this team. Our jobs as coaches is to make sure we have the right guys in the right positions to make plays and [Mangum] is no different.”
You can watch BYU take on Wisconsin Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on ABC4 Utah.