(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
Saturday's game to feature jersey retirement ceremony for Wilson, Bosco and Staley
PROVO, Utah – BYU football hosts No. 10/12 Wisconsin on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 1:30 p.m. MDT. The game will be televised nationally on ABC.
All-Americans Marc Wilson, Robbie Bosco and Luke Staley will have their jerseys retired during a special halftime ceremony. Individual banners with each player’s name and No. 6 will be unveiled and permanently displayed on the press box at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Live radio coverage can be found on the BYU Sports Network with Greg Wrubell, which will be broadcast on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM and BYUCougars.com. It will begin at 11:30 a.m. MDT.
BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 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 (1-2) vs. Wisconsin (2-0)
Saturday, Sept. 16 2017
Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. MDT
LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470)
BYU Game Notes
Wisconsin Game Notes
SERIES HISTORY. This is the third meeting between the Badgers and Cougars. The two teams first met in 1980 in Madison, Wisconsin. Led by Jim McMahon, BYU defeated Wisconsin 28-3. McMahon passed for 337 yards and three touchdowns. The Cougars visited Madison again in 2013. Despite over 250 yards of total offense from Taysom Hill, the Badger run game was stronger with James White and Melvin Gordon combining for over 230 rushing yards, leading Wisconsin to a 27-17 win.
ONE THOUSAND GAMES. The game against Wisconsin is BYU's 1,000th game in program history. The Cougars officially began play as an NCAA program in 1922.
WHITEOUT. BYU will be wearing its white uniforms against the Badgers in a “Whiteout.” In last year’s “Whiteout” game against Toledo, BYU won 55-53 in a back-and-forth thriller.
ALMA MATER COACHES. Both head coaches in the matchup are coaching at their respective alma mater. Paul Chryst played quarterback for the Badgers form 1986-88 while Kalani Sitake was a fullback at BYU in 1994, 97-2000. Chryst and Sitake are among 21 FBS head coaches coaching at their alma mater.
BADGERS GO WEST. Wisconsin is traveling west of Texas for a true road game for the first time since a 2013 trip to Tempe, Arizona, to face Arizona State. The Badgers fell to the Sun Devils 32-30.
HOSTING THE BIG TEN. BYU hosted Penn State in Provo in 1992, however, the Nittany Lions were competing as an independent at the time. This will be the first time an official member of the Big Ten comes to LaVell Edwards Stadium.
BYU vs. RANKED TEAMS. Wisconsin is ranked No. 10 in the AP Poll and No. 12 in the Coaches Poll. 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. The Cougars have gone 3-7 in their last 10 outings against ranked teams.
TOP 10 OPPONENT. With the Badgers ranked No. 10 in the AP Poll, BYU has its fourth opportunity to defeat a top-10 opponent since beating No. 3 Oklahoma in 2009. BYU fell to No. 10 Oregon State and No. 5 Notre Dame in 2012 and No. 10 UCLA in 2015. It is also the first time since 2012 (Oregon State) that a top-10 team will visit Provo.
HONORING LAVELL. Legendary hall of famer and beloved head coach at BYU for 29 seasons, LaVell Edwards, passed away on Dec. 29, 2016. The always steady and humble coach will be honored in several ways throughout the season, including the team wearing a uniform patch featuring the classic stoic profile he displayed for years on the Cougar sidelines.
The following quotes are from Monday’s post-practice press briefing from head coach Kalani Sitake and select players.
Head coach Kalani Sitake (video)
On Utah game
“I saw some good things on film. Obviously, there are things that we need to fix, but I say that every week. I saw some improvements, but we definitely need to be better in order for us to have a better chance at winning.”
“We had some opportunities to make some really big plays, but Utah’s quarterback was really illusive and escaped what would’ve been sacks. We didn’t create enough disruption on the defensive side and we gave up a couple big plays that turned into some points for them. We’ve just got to improve as a group and as a team. I thought the special teams played pretty well and covered well.”
“We’re looking forward to Wisconsin coming to our home this weekend. They’re a top-10 team coming to our stadium, so we’ve got to move on, fix the issues and get onto the next opponent so I’m looking forward to that game.”
“They are big guys, and have a power-run game. It’s going to be a slugfest in the trenches, but we are looking to redeem ourselves from the last two weeks. They are ranked in the top 10 for a reason, so it’ll be great to have them at home.”
“All I care about is getting a “W” this weekend, and we are going to do whatever it takes."
Establishing team identity
“We need to get our identity. You hate to say that after three games, but we need to establish that quickly because we’re losing games and you don’t like trying to figure those things out while you’re losing. It’s easier when you’re winning the games. I thought the defensive played extremely hard and created an opportunity for us to win the game at the end. In order for us to have a better rate of success, all three phases have to be clicking because we’re a better team if all three are working."
On the offense
“I think it’s difficult because everybody wants to score now and score a lot of points. So, you look at what we’re trying to build here as a program. I think that what Ty Detmer does well is that he knows what his talent is and tries to get the best out of our players. But, if things don’t work well, you adjust and you move onto other things – players or schemes or a lot of different things."
"There’s a lot of different things we can do as an offense. We did that with Taysom (Hill) last year — utilizing his ability to run and got him to center a lot and fed Jamaal (Williams) the ball. Those guys aren’t here anymore but we have some strengths on the offense. There are some guys that give us an advantage and a mismatch so we’ve got to take advantage of that stuff.”
On Ula Tolutau
“I think he’s an aggressive runner, and I saw a little bit of that. It’s hard to bring him down because he’s heavy and he’s big. Wisconsin, who likes power running backs, signed him. That’s a compliment to him. We have running backs that can do it too.”
Junior defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi (video)
Lessons from Saturday’s film
“I think one of the things we keep learning is you’ve got to come out fast. With these big games, you can’t let that energy take over you. You’ve got to keep yourself composed and then play well from beginning to end.”
“We’re happy we’re not giving up points, but at the same time, we’ve got to stop them on the yardage. If we can stop them and do a three and out instead of going for a field goal, that’s huge. If we can get better at that, that’s big for the defense.”
“They’re a heavy run team, at least from the defense perspective, so we’re excited for it.”
On the Defense
“I think we have our good times and our bad times. I think tightening up those things this week will be huge for us. There are times when we’re like, ‘OK, we did a good job,’ but it’s all about consistency so this will be big for us to take another step.”
“We want to give the offense the best opportunity to score as possible, so that’s on us to give them good field position.”
Is the team close to getting where you need to be?
“I think we’re definitely close. I think we had ourselves in a good groove coming into the season, and then maybe some things started to go a little differently than planned. But I think we’re right there on the verge, and we just need to break through that little barrier.”
Sophomore offensive lineman Thomas Shoaf (video)
Improvements for game three
“Consistency is definitely our focus and making sure that we improve our technique. We were very physical in fall camp and we have slacked off on that a little bit as things come at us fast we are not as confident. So, we are focusing on being consistent and more physical on the line. Our goal is always to run the ball well and of course we have not shown that thus far in the season. We’re working to improve that and making the adjustments necessary for that.”
On Ula Tolutau
“Ula (Tolutau) is just a downhill runner, he gets hyped, gets us going and it’s a lot of fun to have a back like that. He doesn’t care if there are three guys in the hole, he’ll do the most he can and give us the best opportunity. He makes us want to step up because if we take care of the first level with the line and the linebackers, then he’ll run the safety over and it’s, ‘see you on the other side.’ That’s one of his strong suits. Each back has his own personality and what they bring to the team. We’ll just do our job and they’ll do theirs.”
“We pride ourselves in playing the best competition we can. We are not going to back down from a fight. We want to be physical, step up and show that we can play at their level. Wisconsin has a big front, big corn-fed guys up front. They’re not going to have some of the same speed, but they’re physical and they pose a different threat. We respect them and we look forward to seeing what we can do.”
“It’s a lot of fun to have a Big Ten team come to town. We’re so happy that Tom Holmoe has been able to get opportunities like this, to be able to play teams across the country, and we can see what we can do against other conferences. Obviously growing up in the Big Ten, I have a lot respect for Wisconsin and their physicality. A lot of my friends have played there, I lived there and so it’s going to be fun playing against a lot of guys I grew up with.”
Senior defensive lineman Handsome Tanielu (video)
“We are excited. The last couple of weeks have been similar with big and physical games. As a senior defensive lineman, it is something Kesni (Tausinga) and I look forward to — seeing what we’re capable of.”
On the Defense progressing
“As a team, we are slowly getting better each week. As a D-line, we are in a good position moving forward.”
“This isn’t the best we’ve played yet, but we are on the rise and will get there as a defense.”
“Nineteen points is not good enough because we want to keep them at zero. We have the personnel to do that, but we need to make sure we are on the same page and executing our assignments.”