Squally Canada ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns and BYU handed mistake-prone Wisconsin its first nonconference home loss since 2003, giving the No. 6 Badgers fits with its motion offense in a 24-21 victory Saturday.
The Cougars (2-1) tossed in a trick play, too, when receiver Aleva Hifo found open tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau for a 31-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Wisconsin (2-1) had one last chance to avoid an upset with a drive that started with 3:55 left at the 8. But normally reliable senior kicker Rafael Gaglianone’s 42-yard field goal attempt to tie with 41 seconds left went wide left.
“BYU! BYU!” yelled the small contingent of Cougars fans in the stands. BYU’s last victory over a top-10 team came in 2009 with a 14-13 win over third-ranked Oklahoma.
“We just wanted to win the line of scrimmage and be physical,” coach Kilani Sitake said.
The Badgers’ 41-game nonconference winning streak — the longest active in the nation — came to an end. Their hopes to make the College Football Playoff probably did, too.
“Win as a team and everyone can own their part equally in a loss,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. “We’ve all got to take a look at the things we can control … and take those steps to get better.”
Skyler Southam’s 45-yard field goal with 9:58 left, set up by Canada’s 46-yard run on the first play of a five-play drive, gave BYU the lead for good, 24-21. The Cougars followed the Badgers’ blueprint, punching right back after Wisconsin tied the game at 21 on Taiwan Deal’s 5-yard touchdown run.
Deal rushed for two short scores. Star sophomore Jonathan Taylor had for 117 yards on 26 carries, but Wisconsin couldn’t hit many big plays against a defense that was giving up 156 on the ground coming into the afternoon.
The Badgers also sputtered for much of the day through the air.
Alex Hornibrook was 18 of 28 for 190 yards, throwing an interception deep in Wisconsin territory on the team’s opening drive of the second half. Canada scored his second touchdown of the day on the next series.
Hornibrook did his best work on Wisconsin’s final possession with short passes over the middle and a 16-yard scramble to get the team to the BYU 26.
The Badgers gained just two yards the rest of the way, and Gaglianone missed after BYU called two timeouts.
Tanner Mangum was 12 of 22 for 89 yards, but deftly operated an offense that used spread formations, motions and sweeps to find holes against Wisconsin.
Hifo ended up having the biggest pass on the trick play.
“That was a big momentum boost. It gave us a lot of confidence,” Mangum said.
It was quite a bounce-back performance for the Cougars a week after losing to California. A hot-and-cold offense has looked good in road wins against Arizona and Wisconsin, but struggled in the second half last week against Cal.
Wisconsin’s last nonconference loss at Camp Randall Stadium was to UNLV, 23-5 on Sept. 13, 2003.
“We’ve got to learn from this one and move forward,” Chryst said.
BYU: The Cougars set the tone early by keeping the young Badgers’ defense on their heels. BYU lost starting outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel to a right leg injury in the first quarter. The Cougars played with confidence in a tough road environment a week after a sluggish second half against California, when they managed just 94 yards. BYU more than doubled that output in the first half alone against Wisconsin with 222 yards of total offense.
Wisconsin: The Badgers have first-year starters at cornerback, outside linebacker and defensive end. BYU exploited the defense with jet sweeps, though Wisconsin has also used that play for big gains so it’s not like the defense hasn’t seen it in practice. Wisconsin also had a few missed tackles early in the game, including two by normally surehanded inside linebacker Ryan Connelly.
BYU: Hosts FCS school McNeese State on Sept. 22
Wisconsin: Big Ten opener at Iowa on Sept. 22
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