Week 4: BYU vs. Colorado State
Let’s be honest with ourselves, Cougar fans — we knew that top ten ranking and those national championship hopes were too good to be true.
After the euphoria of the Oklahoma game, we all wanted to believe our boys were capable of anything. And even now I can honestly say that this is a team that has a lot of potential — just not national championship potential.
We saw a lot potential in the first two games of the season, but what we didn’t see were the weaknesses. After the game against Florida State, it should be very obvious what the Cougars need to work on.
Tough Time in the Trenches
While most people saw Christian Ponder and the rest of the FSU skill players run all over the field, what they didn’t see was the Seminole offensive line putting on a blocking clinic. No matter how you spin it, the FSU offensive line won that game.
The Cougars had absolutely no pressure on Ponder when he dropped back to pass and they never stopped the Seminole running game for a loss. A lot of people will make a big deal about the defense not being able to stop FSU on third down, but that’s not where the problem lies. It all starts on first and second down.
Almost every single time FSU would line up on first down, they would blow the BYU D-line off the ball and gain at least four yards. When the same thing happened on second down, FSU would be sitting pretty with a third-and-two.
The reason BYU was able to beat Oklahoma was that they were able to force the Sooner offense into third-and-long on a consistent basis. They were able to stuff the running game and put pressure on the quarterback. What was the difference in these two games? Florida State had a much better offensive line.
Road to Recovery
After a blowout loss, the Cougars look to recover when they face Colorado State this Saturday. A lot of Cougar fans will look at this game and think that BYU will roll over the Rams with ease. I would hope that this is the case, but this is a fairly solid CSU team.
While the Rams did lose gunslinger Billy Farris and power back Gartrell Johnson to graduation, they return one of the best and most experienced offensive lines in the Mountain West. Unless you skipped the first half of this article, you know that having a good offensive line is kind of important.
Head coach Steve Fairchild has done a good job turning this team into a very physical, hard-working group. They may not be the most talented team on the block, but they play tough.
Back to the Basics
Sometimes after a big loss, fans expect big changes and think the team has to mix up the playbook and find a new way to win. Don’t expect this from BYU. They have a very good offense and a defense that can compete if they make plays.
They lost to FSU by such a large margin because the defense just got outplayed and the offense was forced to play catch-up the entire game. If you are still blaming Max Hall for all the offensive problems, you don’t have a clue. He was forced into a situation where they were down 20+ points and running the ball was out of the question.
Look for BYU to get back to basics in this next game. Jordan Pendleton and the rest of the defense should come out with some fire, looking to prove that they can still pack a punch. Max Hall will spread the ball around and look for his tight ends in the clutch. It doesn’t look to good for Harvey Unga to play in this game, but J.J. DiLuigi and Bryan Kariya should carry the load.
Last year, the Rams gave the Cougars all they could handle in a shootout in Fort Collins. CSU capitalized on a few careless turnovers and exploited the BYU secondary. This year, Colorado State will bring the same physicality, but not the playmakers they had last year. They might be able to run the ball fairly well, but they lack a consistent passing game. Look for BYU to strive for a consistent effort and score at will. It’s time to start up another long home winning streak. BYU 38, CSU 13.
1. Harvey Unga — With 97 yards on 10 carries, he proved why he is BYU’s featured running back.
2. McKay Jacobsen — Has a touchdown catch in each of the last three games.
3. Craig Bills — He didn’t play great but, as a true freshman, this kid has a bright future.
1. O’Neill Chambers — I saw him at what looked like a church function on Sunday afternoon. Maybe he is thinking a conversion to the Church will help him hold on to the ball…
2. The Sonic Third Down Defensive Stand — I got physically sick every time this stupid video came on the screen. Do we really need to sell out this much?
3. Rotating student seating — If BYU wants my insane rants to be heard by the referees, then they have to give me better seats. My hollering is worthless in the southwest corner of the stadium.
Jake Welch is a sports correspondent for Rhombus. He engages in insane rants and worthless hollering on a regular basis. Follow him on Twitter @jraywelch.
Trackback from your site.