When a football program is struggling and goes into one of the toughest places in recent football history to play a game, usually the outcome is something along the lines of a 23 point loss like the bet makers had set for the BYU at Wisconsin game. When you are struggling, sometimes you just need a big win to potentially set yourself up for future success. BYU might have had that against the number 6 team in the nation Saturday.
The Cougars looked to use their run game to set the tone on offense and used a mix of end-arounds and runs up the middle to keep the Wisconsin defense honest. Meanwhile, the BYU defensive front refused to be pushed around by one of, if not the best, offensive line in the country.
Squally Canada had two big runs at key points in the game to set up scores when BYU needed them. One was a 44-yard run in the first quarter right after Wisconsin scored a touchdown to go ahead, which set up his own touchdown run to tie the game. The second was a 46-yard run to set up a field goal after Wisconsin had tied the game. Squally ended up scoring two touchdowns and rushing for 118 yards.
The Cougar defense held star Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor to 117 yards on 26 carries and held tough in the second half when they were on the field for the majority of the half.
Wisconsin had a chance to tie the game on a 42-yard field goal attempt, but Coach Kalani Sitake used two timeouts to ice senior kicker Rafael Gaglianone, which resulted with his kick sailing wide left.
Other notable performances came from Zayne Anderson, who had 11 tackles, and a huge interception that set up Canada’s second touchdown. Sione Takitaki had 13 tackles and was all over the field making defensive plays when they needed it. Tanner Mangum was 12-22 for only 89 yards, but did lead an offense that did not turn the ball over. Aleva Hifo had 5 catches for 45 yards as well as 3 carries for 32 yards, including a 31 yard touchdown pass to Moroni Laulu-Pututau.
This is exactly what this football team, and coaching staff needed. Hopefully this is a win that helps propel this BYU team to greater heights as they continue to face a tough schedule. Catch the Cougars next on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium as they take on McNeese State at 4 p.m. MDT.