I’m going to describe the offense of a certain football team and you try and figure which team I am talking about. This team is a run first offense that relies on multiple running backs to grind it out on the ground. They have a young quarterback who has been either feast or famine most of the year and wide receivers that aren’t amazing play makers but have their moments. The offensive line is the real star unit of this team as they clear holes for the run game and provide near-perfect protection for their quarterback.
Starting to sound familiar? Of course this sounds like the offense of BYU but it is also a very accurate reading of Utah’s offensive situation. Utah has put up a lot more points that BYU, but both teams operate in an eerily similar fashion.
If you know anything about football, you know the best kind of offense is a balanced offense. As people yuck it up this week about the big game, there is no doubt this topic will be thrown around in conversations. Allow me to put a little twist on things as we talk about offensive balance.
There is no doubt that BYU’s offense has been the dictionary definition of balanced in their offensive attack in the last few games. Let’s take a look at the splits in total yardage.
BYU v. UNLV- 300 yards passing, 216 rushing
BYU v. CSU- 242 passing, 284 rushing
BYU v. New Mexico- 236 passing, 258 rushing
There is no doubt that if the Cougars want to win on Saturday, they will need to run the ball and run it well. Aside from simply running the ball, they need to get good mileage from each running back. J.J. DiLuigi has been fairly consistent, especially in the early going when he averaged over 100 yards of total offense per game. The key to the offense will be the performance of Bryan Kariya and Joshua Quezada.
In the first five games of the season, Quezada and Kariya were anything but effective as they ran for 130 yards total. That’s not a misprint. After Robert Anae realized that throwing the ball 50+ times a game was going to get him fired, these two got a few more carries. And not only did they get more carries, but they made the most of them.
In the next game against San Diego State, Quezada and Kariya doubled their total yardage on the year as they ran for 50 and 85 yards, respectively. Since the meltdown that was the TCU game, the tandem has averaged over 120 yards on the ground per game. If they can combine for over 100 yards and DiLuigi can get his 60+ yards against the Utes on Saturday, things will be looking up for the Cougars.
The ground game will face a difficult task as they go against the 10th best rushing defense in the country. If BYU can find a way to crack Utah’s front seven then they will be able to open things up in the passing game. Usually Utah has a strong passing defense but that was disproved as SDSU torched their secondary for 528 yards. This is great news for Jake Heaps and the passing attack. Heaps can have a big game as long as the running backs are doing their part.
When it comes right down to it, if BYU can stay balanced, they can win.
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