Wisconsin vs. BYU Live : GameDANNY DAVIS RETURNS: Sophomore wide receiver Danny Davis, who was suspended for UW’s first two games, is expected to make his season debut Saturday.
The return of Davis gives UW the same trio of playmakers who anchored the passing game for the final five games of last season after Quintez Cephus suffered a season-ending broken leg.
In those last five games, A.J. Taylor had 17 catches for 244 yards and four touchdowns; Davis had 18 catches for 248 yards and four touchdowns, and Kendric Pryor had seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.
IMPROVING OFFENSE: Despite two turnovers, UW’s offense showed modest improvement in Week 2. UW averaged 7.1 yards per carry, 7.9 yards per play and finished with 568 total yards in a 45-14 victory over New Mexico. UW’s first-week numbers were 6.0 yards per carry, 7.0 yards per play and 491 yards in a 34-3 victory over Western Kentucky. “I don’t know how to put a letter grade on it but we got better,” senior left guard Michael Deiter said. “I didn’t think we were as good as we could have been in Week 1 and I don’t think we were as good as we could have been in Week 2 but it was better.”
PROTECT THE BALL: BYU has forced two fumbles so far this season, one of which defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku returned 36 yards for a touchdown against California. UW tailback Jonathan Taylor lost a fumble in 18 carries in Week 1 against Western Kentucky and lost a fumble on his 11th carry last week against New Mexico. Look for the BYU defenders to attack the ball when it is in the hands of Taylor. Defenders will test the sophomore until he proves he can secure the ball better.
SPECIAL TEAMS SPARK? The sample size is small – just four kickoff returns. Yet through two games, it is clear UW’s kickoff-return unit has not posted the numbers the staff wants to see. UW enters the weekend eighth in the Big Ten with an average of 19.3 yards per return. The four returns have been for 15, 30, 16 and 16 yards. Freshman Aron Cruickshank has a 20.7-yard average on three returns. “We’re getting close to breaking one,” Cruickshank said. “It is going to be soon, a matter of time.”
The game against BYU will be the 150th for Paul Chryst as a member of the UW staff. Chryst was the tight ends coach in 2002 and the offensive coordinator from 2005-’11 before taking over as head coach in 2015. UW’s record with Chryst on the staff is 114-35, a winning percentage of .765.
Did you know?
Tailback Jonathan Taylor has rushed for a combined 398 yards in his first two games. That is the No. 1 mark among FBS players.
Junior Emmanuel Esukpa of Rice is No. 2 at 358 yards, followed by Juwan Washington of San Diego State at 314 yards.
Taylor is averaging 7.8 yards per carry, better than Esukpa’s 5.4-yard average and Washington’s 5.2-yard average.
Jeff Potrykus’ prediction
BYU is a better team than the one that was embarrassed at home by UW last season, 40-6. Tanner Mangum gives the Cougars an experienced and poised quarterback, the top two runners are solid and the front seven on defense is physical. Nevertheless, the Cougars struggle to generate explosive plays on offense and the defense won’t be able to contain UW’s athletes on offense. UW will remain unbeaten, 35-7.