by Rick Istvan |
Rock, Paper, Chanticleers
After their game, on paper, BYU and CCU looked almost identical. However, CCU had the edge was in the time of possession and rushing yards. Even though BYU had the advantage in the passing game, time of possession and running game go hand in hand. The Chanticleers pecked away at the clock and yardage by keeping the ball for 37:51 compared to BYU’s 22:09. This time difference is over an entire quarter’s worth of football. CCU also had 281 rushing yards compared to BYU’s 165 yards. The Cougars found themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place when it came to ball control and stopping the run.
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Undefeated and Underrated
The Cougars and Chanticleers were both 9-0 going into Saturday’s game. However, they weren’t ranked accordingly in my opinion. The Cougars were ranked #8 in the AP Top 25 and Coastal Caroline was #14. Ohio State (5-0), Texas A&M (7-1) and Florida (8-1) were all ranked higher than the 9-0 Cougars. All of these teams plus Indiana (6-1), Miami (8-1), Iowa State (8-2), Georgia (6-2), and Oklahoma (7-2) were all ranked higher than Coastal Carolina. People will argue this is due to the strength of the schedule, but both teams showed that they are contenders on any level.
Zach Wilson didn’t disappoint. By completing 19 out of 30 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown, Wilson did all he could to lead the Cougars in Conway. Wilson did throw one interception, but that wouldn’t discourage the Heisman hopeful. Wilson also ran the ball ten times for 55 yards. BYU led the Chanticleers until 11:35 left in the game. Down 17-16 CCU senior running back C.J Marable would score on a 2-yard touchdown run. Coastal would attempt a 2 point conversion to go up by 7, but the attempt would fail. Down 22-17, the Cougars would need to score a touchdown in order to win. In the next four series, each team would be forced to punt. BYU would get the ball back one last time with 55 seconds left. Zach Wilson would drive the Cougars an impressive 81 yards on seven plays. Every Cougar fan in attendance, watching on TV, or online, or listening to the game were all on their feet. With seven seconds to go and no timeouts left, Wilson would hit junior wide receiver Dax Milne for 17 yards. At the one-yard line, Coastal Carolina would stop Milne from extending the ball as the clock hit zero.
The Cougars competed
As mentioned above, Zach Wilson played Zach Wilson football. In addition to his passing, Wilson would also run 10 times for 55 yards. Sophomore running back Tyler Allgeier, who is almost at 1,000 yards this season, had 106 yards on 13 carries with one touchdown. He also caught a pass for 12 yards. Junior wide receiver Dax Milne, Wilson’s roommate, led in receiving with six receptions for 106 yards and a touchdown. Two of those catches came in the last 55 seconds of the game one just falling short of the end zone for the win. On the defensive side, two senior linemen led the way. Bracken El-Bakri had 11 tackles and Khyris Tonga had ten tackles and a pass deflection. Sophomore linebackers Keenan Pili and Payton Wilgar both tallied nine tackles. Junior linebacker Pepe Tanuvasa had BYU’s only sack and there were no interceptions for the Cougars.
Baker and the Aztecs
Next week the San Diego State University Aztecs led by sophomore quarterback Carson Baker travel into Provo to face the Cougars. With a 4-3 record and a less than impressive offense and defense, the Aztecs will leave Provo 4-4. Wilson and BYU are looking for redemption after such a close loss to Coastal Carolina. SDSU might not be as gratifying a win as they’d hoped for, or enough to get them into a New Year’s Six Bowl game, the win will be welcomed. The Cougars will finish the season 10-1 and will hopefully find themselves in a good bowl game. After recent AP rankings, despite having a better record than eight teams above them, BYU dropped six places to #14. Regardless of how BYU’s season ends, they should be proud of themselves. What’s next for the Cougars? Well, that is to be continued…
Featured image courtesy Richard Shiro | Associated Press