DALLAS (FWAA) – The BYU Cougars scored their
first win over a top-10 team in a true road game since 1984 keyed
by timely stops on defense and a big-play offense to upset No. 6
Wisconsin, 24-21. The Cougars ended the Badgers' 41-game win streak
in non-conference home games, edging them past a notable field of
worthy candidates as the Reveal Suits National Team of the Week
for games of the weekend of Sept. 15.
This is the third time that BYU has earned this honor dating
to the 2002 season and the Cougars' first since 2007. The announcement
came on "Off Campus with Mark Packer" on ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM.
Each Monday during the season, the Reveal Suits National Team of
the Week will be unveiled during the program, which airs weekdays
from 4-7 p.m. ET. The FWAA's All-America Committee selects the weekly
winner and all Division I FBS and FCS schools are eligible to be
Wisconsin, which beat BYU in Provo last year 40-6, had not lost
a non-conference game at home since 2003, a 41-game streak that
was the fifth-longest streak by an FBS school in the modern era
(since 1946), and the last time the Cougars won a game in Madison,
Jim McMahon was at quarterback. Following a 14-14 halftime tie,
BYU linebacker Zayne Anderson intercepted a pass that led to a go-ahead
touchdown in the third quarter. Tied again at 21-21, BYU freshman
kicker Skyler Southam's 45-yard field goal with 9:58 left proved
to be the game-winner, as Wisconsin missed a 42-yarder wide left
with 36 seconds left.
"It was a team win. We gave the ball to our strength and conditioning
room because those guys kept working until our guys got bigger and
stronger and faster," head coach Kalani Sitake said. "But the players
were gritty and they played hard and with a lot of toughness. I
was really pleased with their effort, but more than anything how
immensely strong they were throughout this game."
The Cougars have 25 wins over Power 5 teams since 2003, the most
of any non-Power 5 program in that span. Senior running back Squally
Canada had 118 rushing yards with two touchdowns, including scoring
runs of 46 and 44 yards. Senior linebacker Sione Takitaki led the
defense with 13 total tackles, with eight of them solo and one sack.
The Cougars' last true road win over a top-10 team was a 20-14 victory
at No. 3 Pitt in 1984. BYU had not beaten a top-10 team since 2009,
a 14-13 win over No. 3 Oklahoma.
The other National Team of the Week nominees for the weekend
of Sept. 15 were:
• Akron (2-0): The Zips earned their first win over a Big
Ten team in program history, coming from behind for a 39-34
win at Northwestern. Akron scored its last two touchdowns on
defense, a fumble recovery by Ulysees Gilbert in the end zone
to take a 32-28 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, and
a 50-yard interception return by Alvin Davis a minute later.
The Zips had three defensive touchdowns to outscore the two
from the offense. Akron is now 2-29 all-time
against the current Big Ten members. Its last win over a Big
Ten school came in 1894 – yes, 1894, Akron's fourth season of
football and before the Big Ten's creation – in a 12-6 win against
Ohio State. The Zips had lost 25 straight in the 123 years since.
• North Texas (3-0): The Mean Green snagged six interceptions
and had a highlight special teams play to post a 44-17 drubbing
at Arkansas. A 90-yard punt return for a touchdown on Keegan
Brewer's fair-catch fakeout helped stake the Mean Green a 34-10
halftime lead. The last time North Texas was 3-0 was 1989 when
it was an FCS program. North Texas now has nine interceptions
on the season; it had eight in all of 2017.
• Texas (2-1): The Longhorns scored the final 34 points to
romp over USC 37-14 in front of the largest sellout crowd (103,507)
in Texas Memorial Stadium history. Texas earned its 900th win
in program history in part by holding the Trojans to minus-five
yards rushing. Sam Ehlinger's 47-yard touchdown strike to Lil'Jordan
Humphrey got Texas rolling in the second quarter, and following
a short USC punt, Cameron Dicker nailed a 20-yard field goal
to give the Longhorns their first lead at 16-14 just before
• Troy (2-1): The Trojans toppled a Power 5 opponent for
a second consecutive season, this time going into Lincoln and
upending Nebraska, 24-19. Troy forced three Nebraska turnovers,
returned a punt for a touchdown (58 yards by Cedarius Rookard)
and had 10 tackles for loss to shock another sellout crowd at
Memorial Stadium. The Trojans never trailed and had a 17-0 lead
following the first of two B.J. Smith touchdowns. Troy, which
won at LSU last year, now has five wins over Power 5 opponents
since moving to the FBS level in 2001.
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Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,400 men and women who cover college football.
The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key
executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas
that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.
For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson