The Cougars suffered a difficult loss last year to Wisconsin in Provo. However, this season marks a completely different narrative. BYU brought home the victory over No. 6 Wisconsin 24-21 in Madison.
This win marks one of the greatest BYU football accomplishments since the 2009 win over No. 3 ranked Oklahoma and the first non-conference loss at home since 2003 for No. 6 Wisconsin, according to the NCAA.
Despite the odds being stacked in favor of the Badgers at Camp Randall stadium, the Cougars did just enough to pull the victory.
The Cougars entered the game as 22-point underdogs and were expected to perform similar to the game last season.
However, the 118 yards and two touchdowns by Squally Canada showed that the Cougars were there to play physical with a tough, Power Five team.
The Cougars played the Badgers to a 14-14 tie going into the half. Zayne Anderson came out and intercepted Alex Hornibrook early in the second half.
Canada and the offense capitalized off the interception and gave the Cougars a 21-14 lead.
Trick plays and a solid run attack fueled the Cougars. Tanner Mangum threw for 89 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Aleva Hifo threw a 31-yard strike to Moroni Laulu-Pututau in the second quarter off the Mangum kick-out pass.
The Cougars held Wisconsin’s Heisman hopeful Jonathan Taylor to just 117 yards, despite his 199-yard rushing average going into the game.
In the fourth quarter, Wisconsin tied the game at 21 with a little over 12 minutes to play. Skyler Southam’s kick put the Cougars ahead 24-21 late in the fourth quarter.
Wisconsin had one more chance to win the game. They drove down and sealed the deal by missing a 42-yard field goal.
This win over Wisconsin marked the biggest victory in the Kalani Sitake era and a shocking finish in week three of college football.
In the past three games, BYU has held explosive players to lower numbers than their averages.
The Cougars’ defense contained Khalil Tate on Sept. 1 in the Arizona football game and held him to career low numbers. He rushed for 14 yards on eight carries despite defeating multiple teams in 2017.
Cal’s premier running back Patrick Laird struggled to move the ball against the Cougars. He rushed for 30 yards on 10 carries. Wisconsin running back Taylor came in 82 yards below his season average. In each of these games, the Cougars’ defense contained nationally recognized players.
After defeating the Cougars last season, Badger quarterback Hornibrook did not throw a touchdown and threw one interception in the contest.
The Cougars’ defense showed up big in the victory on Sept. 15 and contained the Badgers’ rushers throughout the game.
After the game, Sitake expressed his excitement for the victory and for the fans.
“I’m really excited for the fans. All our fans are unified, cheering and excited,” Sitake said. “All we need to do is win, and everything will be alright.”
BYU’s win against Wisconsin propelled them into the AP Top 25. The Cougars play McNeese State Sept. 22 at LaVell Edwards Stadium and will look to advance their record to 3-1.