BYU Cougars

The 3 Keys to the BYU – UCF Game

Overview

Both teams are coming off tough losses; BYU has faced tougher opponents and has two losses to show for it.  Both team’s defenses have carried the burden throughout the first three games of the season. That dependency won’t change for either team in this game.

The Knights are coming off a close, but unexpected loss, and they have a chip on their shoulder. They are eager to get back on the winning track they enjoyed throughout last season and the first two games this year.

From a purely psychological standpoint, the BYU’s confidence is shaken and they are desperate to prove to themselves and the public that they are not the same team that lost to Utah by 44 points last Saturday.  Although, you wouldn’t know the Cougars suffered a quake in confidence based on what defensive back Corby Eason said at a pre-game press conference earlier in the week:

“If we stop the quarterback, like, they have no offense. He’s a great player. He can run the ball and he can pass the ball. We just have to stop him. Once we stop him, I don’t believe nobody else can beat us.”

Okay, Corby, UCF thanks you for your quiet and respectful over-confidence – and the extra motivation you have provided them.

The 3 Keys to this Game

Arguably, these three keys could be used as a template for the remainder of BYU’s season. We know the defense is good enough to get the job done against any opponent, as long as the offense carries its own weight.

  1. Ball control – with points. BYU’s offense has shown a glimmer here and there in their first three games of being able to eat up clock and put points on the board in the same drive. But they have to get points on their possessions. It does little good to use up clock and have nothing to show for it. If they fail to keep the ball out of QB Jeff Godfrey’s hands, you will see the Cougar defense fatigue in the second half again – like they did against Texas and Utah – and the game will be put out of reach from the Cougar offense.
  2. Turnovers. Against Utah, the defense kept the team in the game during the first half, despite three turnovers and generally uninspired mistake-ridden football by the offense. The floodgate opened wide for BYU turnovers in the second half and the defense couldn’t keep up with the landslide. The offense couldn’t do anything right, so there was absolutely no “lift” from a momentum shift that the team could rally around. So, if you see the offense committing more than a couple turnovers against the Knights, don’t expect the outcome of this game to be pretty.
  3. The Long Ball. BYU has to stretch the field to open up their running game. If the receivers are getting open, which usually isn’t a problem, then Jake Heaps needs to deliver the ball. While he has had a few nice long passes this year, more often than not, he has overthrown or underthrown his receivers and stalled out potential drives. When opposing defenses see that the Cougars are toothless in the long passing game, they can load the box and play to stuff the run and short range passes.

Prediction

Brandon Doman refuses to leave the sideline, despite having called three awful games to start the season. Bronco Mendenhall claimed the defense was out of position last week in the second half when Utah’s ground game shredded his front seven., rather than admitting the defense was fatigued and had no gas or will left. Corby Eason’s unfortunate comment about the UCF offense earlier this week shows a lack of humility, as well as a lack of respect for Cougar opponents. There are some very disturbing disconnects taking place inside the BYU football program.  Call this one UCF 27 BYU 17.