MADISON, Wis. — Brigham Young senior quarterback Tanner Magnum and senior linebacker Zayne Anderson were sidelined with injuries last season when Wisconsin routed the Cougars 40-6 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.
They’ll get to help avenge the loss on Saturday as No. 6 Wisconsin (2-0) hosts BYU (1-1) at Camp Randall Stadium, but Cougars coach Kalani Sitake said the Badgers are a solid bunch.
“They’re stronger,” Sitake told the Deseret News. “They actually have 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 for us.
“We’ll see how much our guys have developed in a year and how much they can hang in there at the line of scrimmage. I’m really looking forward to the test. There (are) a lot of guys on this team that really want to get to this game and see what happens.”
BYU managed 81 yards rushing and 111 yards passing against Wisconsin. In two games, the Badgers defense has allowed 201 yards rushing and 315 yards passing in two victories. They’ve only given up two passing touchdowns.
The Badgers defense will aim to contain Mangum, who completed 22 of 41 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown in BYU’s 21-18 setback against Cal last week.
The Cougars run game is bolstered by senior running back Squally Canada, who has 40 carries on 154 yards and two touchdowns through two games.
Sitake also would like to see consistency from Cougars junior safety Dayan Ghanwoloku, who picked up a fumble and ran 36 yards for a touchdown against the Golden Bears. But Ghanwoloku was woeful with a coverage assignment that allowed a 52-yard pass for a touchdown.
Wisconsin junior quarterback Alex Hornibrook and sophomore running back Jonathan Taylor were catalysts in the 2017 victory. Hornibrook completed 18 of 19 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns.
Taylor had 18 carries for 148 yards and one touchdown against the Cougars.
Taylor is fresh off a record game, rushing for a career high with 253 yards on 33 carries and three touchdowns in Wisconsin’s 45-14 nonconference win over New Mexico. He endured despite a lost fumble for a second straight game.
Hornibrook said he’s confident with Taylor’s ability to push past his mistakes. Through two games, Taylor has 51 carries for 403 yards and five touchdowns.
“I think he just trusts himself,” Hornibrook said. “If something happens and when adversity strikes, he’s ready to go,” Hornibrook said. “I think a lot of guys are like that on this team.”
The Badgers also received important contributions in the air against the Lobos from junior wide receiver A.J. Taylor, who collected five catches for a career-best 134 yards and one touchdown.
Wisconsin likely will get a boost in its receiving game with the return of junior wide receiver Danny Davis, who was suspended for two games by Badgers coach Paul Chryst. Davis was in a Madison apartment with junior wide receiver Quintez Cephus, who will stand trial on two charges of sexual assault stemming from an April 22 incident.
Cephus is suspended indefinitely from the team and learned about his trial situation on Tuesday afternoon in a Dane County court. He faces one felony charge of second-degree sexual assault of an intoxicated victim and a second felony charge of third-degree sexual assault.
Chryst said he’s been pleased with how Davis, who has practiced with the team, has reacted during his suspension. He was not charged with a crime in the incident.
“I’m proud of the way he took it and learned,” said Chryst of Davis, who caught 26 passes for 418 yards and five touchdowns last season. “I’ve been proud of his response.”