BYU football: Wisconsin's big defenders will test Cougs' O-line
Provo • The last time BYU's offense went against a big, physical defensive line, the Cougars racked up 443 yards against Utah, including 183 on the ground. But BYU had trouble in the red zone, and that inability to score touchdowns cost them dearly in a 20-13 loss.
Wisconsin, which plays host to BYU on Saturday also has a stout front seven, and is also adept at keeping teams out of the end zone. The Badgers (6-2) are No. 25 in the country in red-zone defense, and No. 5 in scoring defense, allowing just 15.0 points per game.
Clearly, BYU's makeshift and inexperienced offensive line, which has progressed well since the opening-day disaster at Virginia, will have its hands full protecting Taysom Hill and opening holes for Jamaal Williams, Paul Lasike and Algernon Brown.
"I love it," BYU offensive line coach Garett Tujague said. "I am excited for my guys. Opportunities like this don't come around very often. So I think we will be ready. It is a great opportunity. Anytime you play a team that has got the reputation that Wisconsin does of being physical, as an offensive line guy, you gotta love that."
The Badgers are No. 5 in rushing defense, allowing just 90.4 5 yards per game on the ground. They are No. 6 in total defense (285.5 ypg.).
"They are big and they are strong, and powerful," said BYU left tackle Michael Yeck, the only lineman who has started every game this season. "They are assignment-sound. They play with really good technique. That's going to make anybody good, to have all those things."
BYU's line will welcome back opening-day starting center Terrance Alletto, who has missed the last three games due to stingers in his neck and shoulders, but Edward Fusi will still start at center, Tujague said.
"It is really good to have [Alletto] back," Tujague said.
BYU has accepted an invitation to play in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego after the 2016 and 2018 seasons, but will not be playing in the 2015 Poinsettia Bowl, as previously announced. The Cougars have yet to announce their bowl plans for 2014.
In 2016 and 2018, if BYU is bowl eligible (six wins), it will face an opponent from the Mountain West Conference. The 2015 Poinsettia Bowl will pit a MWC team against Army.
Van Noy honored
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy was selected Wednesday as one of 10 finalists for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award. The award focuses on the "total student-athlete" and encourages students to use their role in athletics to become leaders in their communities in a positive way.
Also Wednesday, CBSSports.com named Van Noy one of the 10 best defensive players in the nation in the 2013 season, noting that the senior "pretty much comes up big in every game BYU plays."
In BYU's 23-6 Poinsettia Bowl win over San Diego State last year, Van Noy scored two defensive touchdowns. San Diego State's offensive coordinator in that game, Andy Ludwig, is now the offensive coordinator at Wisconsin.
BYU at No. 21 Wisconsin
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.