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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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Mendenhall frustrated, resolute after BYU falls 27-17 at Wisconsin

The Cougars fell to No. 21 Wisconsin 27-17 here at Camp Randall Stadium today in front of 80,191 fans in chilly, windy conditions.

Wisconsin was as dominant in the trenches as the Cougars feared it would be, controlling the game from the onset with a tone-setting 76-yard drive for a touchdown after the opening kickoff.

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A disappointed BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said in his postgame remarks to reporters that the Cougars made too many mistakes and were not stout enough defensively when they really needed to be to pull off the upset.

Here’s a transcript of Mendenhall’s comments:

Opening:

"In regards to the game, I think Wisconsin is a good football team. I think they are physical. I think they execute well. They had a nice game management plan, which we knew going in. They run the ball effectively.

And I thought made the right plays when they needed to to win the game.

I thought they made two critical drives — their two-minute drive right before the half and then Wisconsin had a drive form the 8-yard line when the game [was in doubt]. I thought we were making a run. I thought they executed really cleanly on those two instances, which I thought it would be a one to two-drive game in terms of determining outcome.

So I think that’s the way it played out. I think Wisconsin did a nice job in really targeting, and focusing on Taysom, especially with his running ability.

We made quite a few plays. I thought the receivers fought outside. There were more to be made, and that was a good thing from my perspective, that we started to be explosive as the game went on."

On not moving the ball before UW’s long drive:

"I think that [sack] was a big play. Wisconsin, statistically, and rightly so, is good on defense. I thought they were strong going into the game. I thought the sentiment, after watching them, to play from behind the chains after a sack makes it more difficult."

On the 12 men on the field penalty after a timeout:

"That was not acceptable and very frustrating. I got word in the headset right after that, ‘call timeout, call timeout,’ and it caught me by surprise, coming off that timeout, and so I wasn’t able to get to the official, nor should I have needed to. We didn’t handle that situation very well. And I don’t know all the things that will go into it. I am sure there is a very clear reason, but it is unfortunate that happened."

On three guys who left the game due to injury (Mahina, Mathews, Spencer Hadley):

"I haven’t been briefed on that yet, so we will have to follow up with that on Monday."

On how much it hurt to have Spencer Hadley go out:

"It hurt. Spencer is one of the best players on our team, and was integral [in the game plan]. We had a substitution package that we were planning on using that was no longer possible for some of their bigger personnel sets when Spencer went out.

But that’s football, and we still had our opportunities to play well and win without that."

On UW’s first game-opening drive:

"I think there was a critical third down, or two, that they converted that I think maybe surprised us more than anything, in possibly being able to throw and catch the ball in third and long situations. But then, they were physical, and we knew that going in. It is one thing to talk about it, it is another thing to line up and play against it, so there still will be a player who is not responsible for his gap who didn’t do his job. I can’t tell you what that it, but that is the only way the ball is ran for significant yardage.

I think there were two or three of those runs on the first drive."

On UW’s White:

"One of our best tacklers, Rob Daniel, a field corner, No. 20 made him miss in the open field on the first or second drive, coming around, and so I was impressed. I think they have good skill and our tough.

Again, one drive too many. I thought this game would be a 24-20 type of game, going into it. That’s about what it would have, and could have, been. But we didn’t play quite cleanly enough to make it happen."

On what the offense was lacking today against a quality opponent:

"Great question. I think mistakes just have to be a part of it. Penalties, probably protection, and being behind the chains more often than we would have liked to, and then while we did make quite a few plays down the field, there were some left out there that we didn’t make.

And so I think what it does show is when the emphasis that a good defense, when it puts a lot of focus on our quarterback, then running backs, receivers, tight ends, the other parts have to then make sure their production continues to increase. So I think that’s probably the biggest takeaway."

On Cody Hoffman’s performance and record:

"He is really good. Wisconsin, like everyone else, has a hard time covering him. There were a few more plays that I thought that were penalties that weren’t called, because they were trying to cover him. He’s very good, and he has meant a lot to our program."

On Wisconsin dominating the line of scrimmage:

"I was frustrated that they were able to run the ball the way they did. I knew they would run the ball physically, that they would run it well. I don’t know exactly what the yards per carry were, but I thought the ball made it to our secondary more than what I was hoping would, and I didn’t think we tackled necessarily great in the secondary on a number of occasions.

If I were to say first impression, it was ball getting to our secondary too much, and then not tackling as well in the back end as I thought we would."

On losses coming off bye week:

"Man, I am not quite sure. I don’t think we had ever lost going into this season with bye weeks, and it might be against a quality opponent, or it might be against this particular team. There are too many variable to say. I thought we had a great plan, and I thought we had a fresh team coming into it. I thought it was a good opponent. So hard to say any more than that."

On TaysomHill being out of rhythm in first half:

"I think is was the defense. They were strong on defense, and that’s probably the first thing to attribute it to."



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