The distance from Provo to Madison, Wis., is roughly 1,200 miles. Saturday afternoon, the Badgers made LaValle Stadium their “home away from home,” rolling past the Cougars with a 40-6 victory.
Staff writer Jonathan Mills was at the game - in spirit - and presents the BadgerBlitz.com BYU Stat Pack here:
Red-Hot in the Red Zone: The BYU defense did not have an answer for an aggressive, accurate Wisconsin offense. After the smoke cleared, the Badgers finished 6-7 on red-zone attempts. A closer look at the stats shows UW completed one red-zone rushing touchdown to complement four passing touchdowns. On the contrary, BYU struggled to score all game. The Cougars were 2-2 in red-zone attempts but scored just six points on two field goals. Have a day, Wisconsin football offense and defense.
These Wheels Keep on Turning: True freshman running back Jonathan Taylor continues to prove his Week 1 performance was no fluke. His abilities were on full display against the Cougars on Saturday and he finished with 128 yards for one touchdown on 18 attempts. Additionally, Taylor averaged 7.1 yards/carry, a regression from Week 1 (9.7 yards/carry) and Week 2 (8.6 yards/carry). Regardless, I was impressed with Taylor’s ability to tack on yards after contact. He grows more comfortable with his role as a starter every passing week.
Elevated Performance: An elevation of 4,649 feet above sea level posed no obstacle for sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook. The best game of his 2017 season was, in fact, against BYU on Saturday. He ended 18-19 with 256 passing yards, four touchdowns and now holds the school record for completion percentage (94.7 percent). Look closer into his stat line and one finds 10 of Hornibook’s 18 completions were for 10 yards or more. Amazingly, he is the first Wisconsin quarterback with four passing touchdowns in a game since now-Seattle Seahawks stud Russell Wilson in 2011. Welcome to the record books, Alex.
When the Going gets Tough, the Tough gets Going: After three games, Wisconsin has yet to allow any points in the second half. The defense shined yet again, limiting BYU to just 192 yards of offense which is the fewest since allowing 165 yards against Rutgers in 2015. The Badgers were out-tackled 51-80 but did record two sacks and two interceptions on the day. Against a BYU team many thought would put up a fight, the Badgers silenced any doubts. A bye week gives UW time for its defense to rest before conference play heats up.
Number 9 Oh-So-Fine: Fully healthy and back with a vengeance, junior kicker Rafael Gaglianone quietly brushed pas alum P.J. Hill for ninth place on UW’s all-time scoring list. He nailed a 23-yard field goal with 9:41 left in the first quarter but has yet to make a field goal with admirable distance or pressure this season. This is certain to occur in the future but Gaglianone's health is the most important sign if he is to continue to add points to the scoreboard.
Jonathan Mills is a staff writer and covers Wisconsin football/ basketball for BadgerBlitz.com on the Rivals.com network. Follow him on Twitter at @realJ_Mills