Kenny Cox | Posted: 10 Sep 2018 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

BYU travels to No. 6 Wisconsin

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PROVO, Utah – BYU travels to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 2:30 p.m. CDT. The game will be televised live on ABC. 

Live radio coverage can be found on the BYU Sports Network two hours prior to kickoff with Greg Wrubell, which will be broadcast on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM,, and on the BYU Cougars app, BYU Radio app and KSL app.  

BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage with Countdown to Kickoff starting 1:30 p.m. CDT/12:30 p.m. MDT. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour or more after the game depending on the timing of the game.

BYU (1-1) at Wisconsin (2-0)
Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CDT
Madison, Wisconsin
Camp Randall Stadium (80,321)

BYU Game Notes
Wisconsin Game Notes

SERIES NOTES. BYU and Wisconsin are facing off for the fourth time in the history of the series. Wisconsin leads the series 2-1. Last season the Badgers beat the Cougars 40-6 at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The last time BYU traveled to Madison the Cougars came up short 27-17 in 2013.

BIG TEN COUNTRY. BYU is looking for its third win over a Big Ten team on the road in the past four seasons. The Cougars beat Nebraska on the road in 2015 on Tanner Mangum's Hail Mary to Mitch Mathews. In 2016, Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams ran past the Spartans of Michigan State in East Lansing in a 31-14 victory. BYU has beaten Wisconsin in Madison before, earning a 28-3 win back in 1980 behind the arm of Jim McMahon.

ALMA MATER COACHES. Both head coaches in the matchup are coaching at their respective alma mater. Paul Chryst played quarterback for the Badgers from 1986-88 while Kalani Sitake was a fullback at BYU in 1994, 97-2000.

BYU vs. RANKED TEAMS. Wisconsin is ranked No. 6 in both major polls. A win over the Badgers would give BYU its first win over a ranked team since a 35-24 win over No. 20 Boise State in Provo on Sept. 12, 2015.

BOUNCE BACK LIKE LAVELL. Head coach Kalani Sitake and the Cougars are hoping to bounce back in 2018 similar to how LaVell Edwards and company did after his second season at the helm of the program. Edwards' second season (1973) was his only losing season of his 29-year career as the head coach. In season three of Edwards' tenure, the 1974 squad turned around from 5-6 the year before to 7-4-1, a WAC championship and a Fiesta Bowl appearance – the first bowl appearance in program history. BYU looks to follow in the hall of famers' footsteps.

NEW PLACES, NEW AND FAMILIAR FACES. BYU had several changes on the coaching staff in the offseason. Jeff Grimes is the new offensive coordinator. Grimes spent the last four seasons as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator at LSU and brings 25 years of coaching experience to his second stint as a Cougar. Grimes was BYU's offensive line coach from 2004-2006. Passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick played at BYU in the late 90s and spent three years as a graduate assistant with the Cougars. Two other offensive coaches joined the program, Fesi Sitake and AJ Steward. Sitake was most recently the offensive coordinator at Weber State and Steward coached running backs at Rice. On the defensive side, Preston Hadley is the new safeties coach after coaching defensive backs at Weber State. Hadley played cornerback for BYU in 2011-12.

The following quotes are from Monday's press conference.

Head Coach Kalani Sitake
On what he learned from the game against Cal
"We didn’t do enough to win the game. Like I said after the game, I still feel good about the way they played. They played hard and competitive, it just wasn’t enough to overcome the mistakes that we made. That’s on a lot of different parts of all three phases, but for the most part we need to score more points. We need to be more efficient on offense and more disruptive on defense."

On Tanner Mangum's performance in the game
"Everyone is being evaluated on this team and their positions. Our job as coaches is to make sure we have the right guys in the right positions to make plays and he’s no different. Coaches need to do a better job as a program to win games and that’s what it comes down to. The players make plays but the coaches can definitely put them in position to do better as well."

"I don’t know if I set a standard on how many yards he has to throw for or run for, we just need to be more efficient on every play. If you’re looking at yards per play, it wasn’t good enough. That comes down to a lot of different factors. We’re not going to blame that on just one person. There’s enough blame to go around. We’ll keep working hard. That’s what we’ve been doing to prepare for the tough game this weekend. We’re in a good position to work hard and see what we can do on the road."

On preparation for this week
"Each player needs to prepare. If the practices aren’t going well, they need to look individually at what they’re doing on the field. As coaches, we’re going to keep demanding a lot from our players individually and as a team. Preparation in the week is important and gives a lot of confidence going into the game. I thought we had good preparation this past week on all three phases. It just wasn’t good enough. We made some mistakes and a ball game can come down to those key plays that we didn’t capitalize on. Nobody feels worse about this loss than the players and coaches, but the key is to get back to work."

Linebacker Sione Takitaki
On conversation between players after the game
“Tristen Hoge just kind of gathered us up and gave us a little speech. He said the game is behind us now and we can’t change anything now. We took a loss and we’re going to have to move on. We have a good team coming up that we have to prepare for in Wisconsin. We just have to keep moving. You can’t ponder on it. It’s Monday now and you have to move forward.”

On facing Wisconsin this week
"They’re a great, top-five team. We have to stop the run against them. We have to play big up front and we have to make plays. I want to make tons of plays and play our best game. They have a really good scheme and I believe in our guys so it will be a good challenge."

On facing Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor
"You always want to face good opponents every week. I know that he’s a great running back so it’s going to be a good week to go against a good opponent. Shedding blocks is going to be really important for us this week against their offensive line. We’re going to have to work on that a lot this week. You have to be on your A game throughout film study and everything. You have to be sound on our assignments and stay home. You can’t take chances and get burned."

Fullback Brayden El-Bakri

On the key to bringing the run game back
"I would just say in general; the communication needs to be there. Some of the calls weren’t getting through, we weren’t communicating as loud. One thing is, we had practiced our different calls and signals against Arizona because it was going to be a hostile crowd, but then when we didn’t have the hostile crowd, we weren’t communicating how we had already practiced throughout fall camp. I feel like that will help us be that much better."

On trying to put together explosive plays
"When there aren’t any explosive plays, it just comes down to conditioning. You have to be able to repetitively get your blocks and do the things that you need to. Explosive plays obviously ignite the crowd and they ignite the team and they ignite certain players and other things, but as a team overall, you should be able to go out and do your job and do it well, like it’s a drill, and to overcome obstacles as they come."

On the feeling after the game against Cal vs. Arizona
"I don’t think that we would say that it was just another game because one of our goals coming into this season was to protect LaVell’s house.  Everyone came in with that mindset that this was one of our team goals and we will accomplish it. I don’t think there was any difference in expectations."

Linebacker Zayne Anderson
On defensive performance against Cal
"Overall as a defense we need to be better. We had a couple blown coverages, a couple miscommunications and we can’t have those mistakes. Those are things we can fix. We played alright, we held them to a decent number. We can do better for sure, I think we’re a better defense than that. They had a really solid running back. He was patient and waited for holes to open up, so we just need to close those faster."

On the adjustment to linebacker position
"The tackles were good against Cal. I feel like this flash position allows me to make plays. I think I need to make more big plays whether it’s forced fumbles or interceptions. That’s something I need to do more of and I think as I get more comfortable in the position it will come. I feel like I’ve made progress though."

On facing Wisconsin
They have a really good offensive line. They always have good running backs and have a really good running back this year. That’s something we need to do this week is stop the run. The guys up front kind of hold their ground there and then it’s up to us to make the play. There’s a lot of pressure on us and that’s going to be a challenge for us this week, but we’re excited about it. Coming off the loss this week we’re really excited and motivated to get this one."

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