Davison Cheney: The Wisconsin faithful perspective - 'Beat those pesky Cougars!'
Charlie Neibergall, AP
“Did you know that a lot of the football players for BYU are balding and have kids?”
That’s what I always imagine BYU’s collegiate opponents say when they get ready to host or be hosted by the Cougar football team.
Badger fans may be saying things like this as well:
“My, it’s lovely to be 6-2, and in second place in our division. Wasn’t that a simply pernicious victory at Iowa (5 and now 4 after getting beaten by us).”
“Don’t you agree that our coach Gary Andersen, formerly of Utah State and University of Utah, should have a few pointers to put those pesky Cougars in their place? After all, he faced them several times in those Rocky Mountains.”
"Isn't that Taysom Hill the bomb? He is 6th nationally in total offense per game. Pocatello must be a very special place. Pass the cheese."
OK, here’s what they are really, really saying
Ohio State and Arizona State were killer games for the Badgers, losing to the Buckeyes by a touchdown, 31-24, and to the Sun Devils by two points, 32-30 — both in September away games.
BYU has had a bye to get ready for the powerhouse that is the big red of Wisconsin, but two weeks to prepare didn’t help it against Utah.
Wisconsin hasn’t had to deal with BYU for 33 years. The first meeting took place in Madison and was a September win for the visiting Cougars, 28-3. In 1980, BYU under LaVell Edwards went 12-1 and was 12th ranked by AP at the end of the season, having only lost its away opener at New Mexico. That year included a 56-6 win at Utah (happy I am to include that score) and a 46-45 win over SMU in the Holiday Bowl.
However, Badger head coach Gary Andersen will meet BYU for the 16th time in 17 years, the first 11 as an assistant coach at Utah and the rest as Utah State Aggie head coach, where he went 1-3. The "one" over BYU was in 2010, 31-16.
Wisconsin is 4-0 at home in Camp Randall Stadium this year, where the game is scheduled to kick off at 1:30 p.m. MST on ESPN and KSL Radio.
Power linebacker Chris Borland — and his 57 tackles and two sacks — is ready to play, having sat out the last game after getting injured in the Illinois match two weeks ago.
“I’ve got confidence for this week,” Borland told ESPN.
Cougar punt returner and co-captain JD Falslev will miss the remainder of the regular season due to a broken hand suffered while surfing.
Lauded Badger receiver Jared Abbrederis will still be out with a chest injury and defensive end Tyler Dipple will miss another game due to a family issue.
Wisconsin will not have to face the only other team in the nation with two rushers that average 100 yards a game. True freshman RB Corey Clement is a close third, rushing for 100 yards in his first game.
James White, with 6.1 yards per carry, and sophomore running back Melvin Gordon may have met their match. Cougar quarterback Taysom Hill (105.1) will be at the helm, and running back Jamal Williams (104.7) follows closely behind.
With six wins, both the Cougars (6-2) and the Badgers (6-2) are ready to go bowling. The Badgers have a 12 consecutive bowl game record, the longest active record in the Big 10. Wisconsin played in the Rose Bowl in 2012, losing to ranked Oregon 45-34. The Big Red ended the season with a 9 ranking by AP.
The Cougars will bowl this year for the ninth straight season, having gone 6-2 — the latest win came in the Poinsettia Bowl vs. San Diego State with a 23-6 score.
At least, that's what they are saying.
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