Badgers roll on the road

Horni­brook sets com­ple­tion rate record in 40-6 vic­tory

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - JEFF POTRYKUS

PROVO, Utah – Fresh off a some­times-ragged per­for­mance in Week 2 and ven­tur­ing away from home for the first time this sea­son, Paul Chryst’s play­ers talked all week about putting to­gether a com­plete game and reaf­firm­ing the be­lief they will be a force in the Big Ten and be­yond in 2017.

Con­sider UW’s 40-6 vic­tory Saturday af­ter­noon over BYU an em­phatic state­ment about the po­ten­tial of this team.

“I was proud of the way our guys ap­proached this whole trip,” UW coach Paul Chryst said. “Cer­tainly have a ton of re­spect for the pro­gram here at BYU and the coach­ing staff.

“Com­ing in we knew that we had to play our best game and I thought in many ways that we did.”

BYU (1-3) en­tered the game strug­gling on of­fense and had to go with a first-time starter at quar­ter­back in red­shirt sopho­more Beau Hoge, sub­bing for in­jured starter Tan­ner Mangum.

So it wasn’t sur­pris­ing that UW’s de­fense, other than an early drive and a blown cov­er­age late in the first half, frus­trated the Cougars and si­lenced a crowd of 61,143.

Hoge threw an in­ter­cep­tion on his sec­ond at­tempt and the Cougars, who came in av­er­ag­ing 231.7 yards and 11.0 points per game, were held to 192 to­tal yards. They man­aged 64 yards on their sec­ond pos­ses­sion, which re­sulted in a field goal and were held to 108 yards on their fi­nal seven pos­ses­sions.

“They are a great team,” BYU coach Kalani Si­take said. “You can see why they are ranked. I thought we were over­whelmed.

“We couldn’t get any­thing go­ing. De­fen­sively, we could have pro­vided some plays but that wasn’t hap­pen­ing today.”

What im­pressed most about UW’s per­for­mance was the man­ner in which the of­fense con­trolled the ball (40 min­utes 9 sec­onds) and cap­i­tal­ized once it reached the red zone (five TDs on seven trips).

Quar­ter­back Alex Horni­brook, who strug­gled af­ter a hot start against Florida At­lantic, com­pleted 18 of 19 passes for 256 yards and four touch­downs to lead UW.

The last UW quar­ter­back to throw four touch­down passes in a game? Rus­sell Wil­son, against Min­nesota in 2011.

Horni­brook’s com­ple­tion rate of 94.7% broke the pro­gram mark of 94.4%, set in 1993 by Dar­rell Bev­ell (17 of 18) against North­west­ern.

Horni­brook was at his best on third down, as he hit 8 of 8 at­tempts for 114 yards and three touch­downs. He di­rected three touch­down drives in the first half when UW had the ball four times and built a 24-6 lead.

“I thought today Alex was re­ally sharp and he was see­ing things clean,” Chryst said.

Tail­back Jonathan Tay­lor started for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive week and con­tin­ued his im­pres­sive fresh­man cam­paign by rush­ing 18 times for 128 yards and two touch­downs. UW fin­ished with 255 pass­ing yards and 235 rush­ing yards. Five tail­backs and two full­backs got car­ries.

BYU en­tered the day al­low­ing 166.0 rush­ing yards per game but only 3.9 per carry.

“They were good on film,” left guard Micah Kapoi said of the Cougars’ de­fense. “They came out like we thought they would. They were tough in­side, tough lineback­ers.

“Our goal this week was to be the tougher team, be the team that was go­ing to im­pose our will. I think we took steps in do­ing that.”

Line­backer T.J. Ed­wards set the tone for the day on BYU’s first pos­ses­sion with an in­ter­cep­tion that gave UW the ball at the Cougars’ 35. The pass was the first for Hoge, who fin­ished 11 of 20 for 111 yards.

UW set­tled for a field goal and BYU then drove 61 yards for a ty­ing field goal, but the Badgers owned the line of scrim­mage and had fea­tured more play­mak­ers, par­tic­u­larly on of­fense, the rest of the way.

“When you go on the road you look for some­one to ig­nite you. I thought T.J.’s pick was re­ally big.”

The Badgers (3-0), No. 12 in the Amway coaches poll and No. 10 in The Associated Press poll, get a week off be­fore open­ing Big Ten play on Sept. 30 against vis­it­ing North­west­ern.

UW put to­gether its most com­plete open­ing half through the first three weeks in build­ing a 24-6 half­time lead.

Horni­brook com­pleted 10 of 11 passes for 149 yards and two touch­downs, both to wide re­ceiver Quin­tez Ce­phus (557-2 TDs), Horni­brook in the open­ing half com­pleted 4 of 4 passes on third down for 49 yards. Three throws re­sulted in first downs, in­clud­ing a 9-yard touch­down pass to Ce­phus.

UW’s de­fense al­lowed 79 rush­ing yards on 13 at­tempts on BYU’s first two pos­ses­sions which ended with UW hold­ing a 7-3 lead.

UW al­lowed just one first down and 28 yards on the next two se­ries and the of­fense cap­i­tal­ized to ex­pand the lead to 24-3.

“We weren’t quite sure what we were go­ing to see,” Chryst said. “They did do some things early in the run­ning game.”

A late break­down — a 50-yard pass play from Hoge to Micah Si­mon to the UW 25 — led to BYU’s sec­ond field goal.

Horni­brook found wide re­ceiver A.J. Tay­lor for an 18-yard score in the third quar­ter — on third and 8 — to help UW push the lead to 31-6.

His fi­nal score was a 19-yarder to tight end Troy Fu­ma­galli — on third and 18 — with seven min­utes re­main­ing.

With Horni­brook get­ting ex­cel­lent pro­tec­tion and find­ing re­ceivers all day and with the de­fense con­trol­ling the game for all but a few plays, UW fash­ioned its best over­all per­for­mance of 2017.

Af­ter a bye week, a run to what the play­ers hope will be a Big Ten ti­tle be­gins in earnest.

“I think it was a flash,” safety D’Cota Dixon said, re­fer­ring to the team’s po­ten­tial. “I think today it was a pretty good job of the de­fense putting it to­gether. We didn’t have any mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion er­rors. I felt like it was pretty solid.

“But even then, I feel like there is so much more we can do.”

GETTY IMAGES

Sopho­more quar­ter­back Alex Horni­brook gets rid of a pass be­fore ab­sorb­ing a hit from a BYU player dur­ing the sec­ond half of Wis­con­sin’s vic­tory on Saturday in Provo, Utah. Horni­brook fin­ished the day 18 of 19 for 256 yards and four touch­downs against the Cougars.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Wis­con­sin run­ning back Gar­rett Groshek tries to fend off BYU line­backer Matt Hadley dur­ing a run in the sec­ond half on Saturday. Groshek, a fresh­man, car­ried nine times for 43 yards.

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