It was closer than many would have predicted given the fact that Odds Shark had BYU as 25.6 point favorites. While BYU fans betting on the over might have been punished for their gambling transgressions, they were not punished as far as the scoreboard was concerned. The Cougars still prevailed over the Portland State Vikings by a score of 20 to 6 at Lavell Edwards stadium.
With legendary BYU coach Lavell Edwards watching the game from above for the first time in history, the Cougars decided to pay homage to the man who took them to a national championship in 1984. It was a fun way for BYU to get a win and celebrate the “glory days” of their program’s history.
If Lavell was coaching right now, he would most likely tell BYU that they need to get a lot better before they play LSU at NRG Stadium in Houston next week. It will be a big neutral site game in the NFL stadium of the Houston Texans.
It was surprising that in the whole game there was only one turnover committed on both sides. It was an interception thrown by true freshman Portland quarterback Japan’s Eason which was due to his wide open receiver having a bad case of the Butterfingers and letting the ball bounce off his hands into the outstretched arms of defensive back Zayne Anderson.
The pick came with 3:42 left in the game with Portland State trying to rally back from an 11 point deficit. Instead the lead swelled to 14 after BYU kicker Rhett Almond connected on a 35 yard field goal to redeem himself from a missed 33 yard field goal the previous possession.
The good: A stingy BYU defense held its opponent to 6 points. They did so by reading plays correctly and using their physicality to limit their visitors to just 220 yards.
The bad: Special teams was sloppy on both sides. Freshman Vikings kicker Noah Brosio missed a PAT after his team’s only touchdown to stifle any momentum his team might have gained to this point. While Rhett Almond connected on two short field goals, he missed one short one near the end of the game that kept the slim hopes of Portland State alive for a possession.
The ugly: This game was too close for the majority of the time. After three quarters it was still a one possession game with BYU leading 14 to 6. They had to rely on their kicker in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach. While Portland State played far better than their three win season last year would indicate, BYU didn’t take their opponent seriously and has a lot of questions to answer leading up to LSU next week.
The big question is who will be the rushing leader after the graduation of all-time school rushing leader Jamal Williams? Squally Canada got more attempts and thus got nearly triple digits in the rushing category. However, Kavika Fonua averaged over two yards per carry more than Canada in his 7 attempts.
The running game will need to compliment the traditional BYU gun slinging passing game when an elite SEC defense in LSU comes to nearby Houston to stop both. The LSU faithful will be looking to bring Death Valley to Texas but the national LDS fan base will be looking to bring the Mormon Football Battalion to the Lone Star State as well.
It should definitely be more interesting than the home opener as the two schools face off on college football prime time at 7:30 PM Mountain Standard Time on ESPN.