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Tom Oates: Grading Badgers' performance in loss to Cougars

Tom Oates: Grading Badgers' performance in loss to Cougars

Paul Chryst

Badgers coach Paul Chryst watches from the sidelines during the second quarter of Wisconsin's 24-21 loss to the BYU Cougars on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. 

Wisconsin State Journal columnist Tom Oates grades the Wisconsin Badgers' performance in their 24-21 loss to the BYU Cougars on Saturday afternoon at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. 

Offense: D-plus

The Cougars were determined not to let Jonathan Taylor beat them, but the inconsistent Badgers couldn't take advantage of that. Alex Hornibrook wasn't pressured on his critical third-quarter interception, he just underthrew it. Holding and false start penalties stalled drives. Danny Davis made a mark in his return.

Defense: C-minus

BYU hurt UW with jet sweeps and misdirection in the first half. The Badgers got that under control in the second half, but at what cost? Squally Canada's 46-yard run over right guard set up BYU's game-winning field goal. Without Andrew Van Ginkel, who was injured early, UW had zero takeaways and little pass rush.

Special teams: D

Rafael Gaglianone's late miss from 42 was more surprising than anything else. He's been virtually automatic on field goals throughout his career, especially in the clutch. Anthony Lotti opened with a 63-yarder to the 5 and continued to punt well. The Badgers lost critical yardage by not fielding punts they could have.

Coaching: D-plus

BYU used jet sweeps, misdirection runs and a trick play as UW's defense was on its heels for the entire first half. UW made some adjustments, but it took until the second half. With BYU keying on UW's power running game, there had to be other ways for the Badgers to move the ball. They never consistently found them.

Overall: D-plus

BYU was a far better team than it was when UW beat it by 36 last season, but that's no excuse. The Badgers never found any spark on offense, defense or special teams and lost a game they had no business losing. Their season isn't over, but their margin for error is gone and the Big Ten season hasn't even started yet.

Contact Tom Oates at

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Tom Oates has been part of the Wisconsin State Journal sports department since 1980 and became its editorial voice in 1996, traversing the state and country to bring readers a Madison perspective on the biggest sports stories of the day.

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