by Daniel Olsen
Beneath the twilight over Mount Timpanogos, with the Y glowing in the background, the BYU Cougars hosted USF last weekend at Lavell Edwards Stadium. After reviewing last week’s film, it’s time to highlight a few weaknesses that the Utah State Aggies can exploit in the rivalry game.
1. Rush three drop eight is an ineffective defense
While many fans love BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki, some have probably written a letter or two telling the Cougars to retire this passive defense that they seem to run too often. They would have a good reason to do so. They allowed a season high 27 points from USF. While that is respectable, keep in mind that this same team was shut out by NC State. While the Bulls had a rocky start, the Cougars showed that they didn’t prepare for a quarterback with this level of athleticism.
Even on a goal line stance, the blockers didn’t do their job and allowed the Bulls to get a walk-in touchdown. That can’t happen against a fast paced Aggie team. If BYU learned one lesson last week, it’s that they can’t overlook team. They overlooked the Bulls, but they shouldn’t overlook an Aggie team that is more talented and hungry to win a rivalry game.
2. Injuries will play a key factor
The body count was pretty gruesome after the win over USF. Several players were listed as injured following the win over USF:
The result was several underclassmen on the defensive end were unable to get the USF punt team on the field in the second half. Utah State has won several games in this rivalry when key Cougar players go down with injury. While nobody should ever try to physically knock someone out of the game, the Aggies should exploit any mismatch should some of the BYU players be unavailable to play.
3. Baylor Romney is streaky
While Jaren Hall was an impressive dual threat, Baylor Romney isn’t a bad backup himself. He can throw comfortably in the pocket, especially if it’s to his brother Gunner Romney. He also isn’t bad at running the ball.
The problem is, BYU went pretty cold for most of the game after a hot 21-0 start in the first quarter. The Aggies can’t let themselves get caught behind the eight ball and expect to come back from double digits against good teams. It didn’t work against Boise State. However, if they are in striking distance then BYU will need to start waking up in the second half to avoid the upset. Only 33 of 114 points have come in the second half this season for BYU.
Final Takeaway: Upset Alert
While the home team is about a one possession underdog, they could spoil #13 BYU’s attempt for an unbeaten season. While the result could still end up as a win for BYU, the preseason prediction from the preview of this game in July might be closer than people originally thought. USU is having an amazing comeback season. They only won one game last year. Now, they only have one loss in four games. The Aggies and Cougars will have a competitive game. The Aggies will only win if they have a perfect game and BYU gets caught overlooking them.
Featured image courtesy Meridian Star