BYU football: Wisconsin offense familiar, but with better players
Provo • The last time BYU's Kyle Van Noy faced an offense coordinated by former Utahn Andy Ludwig, he turned in one of the most dominating defensive performances in school history, leading the Cougars to a 23-6 win over San Diego State in the 2013 Poinsettia Bowl.
He scored two defensive touchdowns off an interception he returned for a score and a fumble he caused and recovered. He also had eight tackles, 1 1/2 sacks and blocked a punt.
Ludwig, an Ogden native who was Utah's offensive coordinator from 2005-08, is the OC at Wisconsin (6-2), which plays host to BYU (6-2) on Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison. But Van Noy isn't necessarily licking his chops at the prospect of going against Ludwig's offense again.
For starters, Wisconsin has much better players, Van Noy said Wednesday after being named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS award.
"It's a totally different team. It is a new year," Van Noy said. "So new personnel, new team, great running backs [Melvin Gordon and James White] and a good quarterback [Joel Stave] at the helm who takes care of the offense and takes care of the ball."
The Badgers are ranked No. 10 in the country in rushing offense (287.0 ypg.) and No. 18 in total offense (494.6 ypg) and will try to control the game with their powerful offensive line and perhaps the best running back tandem in the country. Gordon averages 134.3 yards per game and White averages 100.5.
"They are big," BYU defensive coordinator Nick Howe said about Wisconsin's line. "They are like Notre Dame last year. That's who I would compare them to that we have played. Maybe like Oklahoma a few years ago, that type of size."
Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen, the former USU coach, said Monday that Van Noy is a great linebacker, but "We all know where the top linebacker in the country plays, and that's right in our own backyard."
He was referring to senior Chris Borland, also a semifinalist for the Butkus and Benarik awards.
"Nah, that's just an opinion," Van Noy said, when asked if Andersen's boast fired up him. "I am never going to discredit someone for their opinion, and I think it is cool that he thinks that. I have nothing against it. But my opinion probably is different. â¦ He's a coach. He's going to have his guy's back. I think it is honorable to have your player's back."
Andersen's son, Chasen, who signed with BYU last February before being released by coach Bronco Mendenhall, is taking classes at Wisconsin and will enroll full-time and join the football program in January. Chasen's twin brother, Hagen, will be a walk-on at Utah State, also beginning in January.
Rocky Biegel, the father of Wisconsin linebacker Vince Biegel, played for BYU from 1988-91 and was a second-team all-Western Athletic Conference linebacker in 1990. Rocky Biegel's brother, T.D. Biegel, also played for BYU (1993-94).
BYU at No. 21 Wisconsin
O Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
TV • ESPN