BYU Stuns No. 6 Wisconsin, Alex Hornibrook in 24-21 Upset

MADISON, WI - SEPTEMBER 15: Talon Shumway #21 of the BYU Cougars catches a pass near the sideline for a first down in the second quarter of the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on September 15, 2018 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Wisconsin’s dream of making the College Football Playoff took a huge hit after Saturday’s 24-21 upset loss against BYU. 

Trailing 24-21 with 36 seconds remaining, Rafael Gaglianone missed a 42-yard field goal that would have tied the game. 

After two easy victories to start the season, the Badgers climbed up to No. 6 in the Amway Coaches Poll. Their usually stout defense was manhandled by BYU’s offensive line, leading to senior running back Squally Canada racking up 118 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries. 

The game started out looking like a blueprint for what Wisconsin does to wear down opponents. Taiwan Deal capped off an eight-play, 61-yard drive with his first of two touchdowns to put his team up 7-0 midway through the first quarter. 

Rather than folding up on the road against a Top 10 opponent, BYU immediately responded on Canada’s first score. 

Canada made the biggest play of the game on BYU’s first possession of the fourth quarter. Wisconsin regained momentum with a touchdown that tied the score at 21. 

The Cougars star broke off a 46-yard run on the drive’s first play that put them at Wisconsin’s 29. He nearly had as many rushing yards on that play as he did in the season’s first two games combined:

BYU’s drive stalled after that, leaving Skyler Southam to kick a 45-yard field goal with 9:58 remaining that would turn out to be the difference. 

Wisconsin came into Saturday’s contest ranked fifth in the nation with 325.5 rushing yards per game and tied for seventh with 8.5 points allowed. Jonathan Taylor, who averaged 7.8 yards per carry in the first two weeks, had 117 yards on 26 carries against BYU’s defense. 

With Taylor struggling to break off big chunks of yardage, Alex Hornibrook was left to shoulder a heavier load than normal. The junior quarterback completed a season-high 18 passes, but it resulted in just 190 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. 

The Badgers’ loss was just the tip of the iceberg on a nightmare day for the Big Ten:

BYU has been the king of close finishes so far in 2018. Its three games this season have been decided by a total of 11 points, leading to a 2-1 record for head coach Kalani Sitake. 

While Wisconsin will have to make up ground if it wants to get back in playoff contention, Saturday’s defeat doesn’t count against its conference record. The Badgers will open Big Ten play against Iowa next week, with matchups against Michigan and Penn State still to come. 

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