Posts tagged Idaho Vandals
No matter what you might think about BYU playing bottom of the barrel WAC teams like Idaho and New Mexico State in the last few weeks of the regular season, don’t expect these games to be easy. Idaho might sport a 2-7 record, but they’re not afraid to play anyone because they’re a Jekyll and Hyde type of team. You don’t know which one you’ll face on any given Saturday.
The Vandals are certainly battle-tested. They have played on the road in one venue much more difficult than Lavell Edwards Stadium – Texas A&M – and their other non-conference road game was at Virginia. They lost both of them, as expected, but the game against the Cavaliers went into overtime and Idaho lost 21-20 when they went for a two-point conversion instead of kicking the PAT.
The Vandals also lost to a decent Hawaii team 16-14 on a last minute field goal by the Warriors. And then there are those games where they got crunched by teams they should be able to hang with, like Bowling Green, Louisiana Tech, Fresno State and New Mexico State, but ended up with a win over San Jose State last week. Go figure.
Idaho’s offense is led by QB Brian Reader (53% completions, 1,498 yards, 9 TDs, 8 INT) and running back Princeton McCarty (4.2 ypc on 494 yards, 2 TDs). Reader has some decent receivers, most notably Mike Scott (45 receptions, 568 yards, 1 TD) and Armauni Johnson (23 grabs, 311 yards, 3 TDs). The Vandal defense should be pretty inviting for the rested up Cougar offense. They rank 77th in the nation in total defense and 70th in scoring defense giving up an average of 28 points per game.
The question this week is really more about the Cougars. They’ve had two weeks to recuperate and get over blowing a very winnable game against TCU. Did Bronco and his staff use that time to really improve this team in every phase of the game? Is this a hungry Cougar team that wants to steamroller their last 3 opponents and win a bowl game to finish 10-3, or are they going to show up overconfident, buying into the talk on fan boards and media opinion columns that the Idaho and New Mexico State teams are pushovers and that they deserve better opponents?
Put it this way: If Bronco and his staff don’t have this team fired up and ready to rock ‘n roll the rest of the season, then some big changes need to happen in the offseason.
Look for the Cougars to arrest the Vandals for trespassing in LES this weekend. Players down the depth chart will get some valuable game time as BYU wins this one 38-14.
They did exactly what was expected of them. Nothing more, nothing less. And that’s okay. Now that they’re getting used to the WACky portion of their schedule, the Cougars need to make sure they are thumping all of these third-rung opponents like Boise State did when it ruled the roost. Keep in mind the scorecard reflects the quality of the opponent.
Offense Grade: B+
Props to Riley Nelson who looked pretty good the short time he was on the field (4-7, 56 yards, 1 TD) and to Jake Heaps for coming in and keeping the offense chugging without a hitch (15-20, 185 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int – and a big improvement with 9.3 ypa). Michael Alisa cranked out 9.9 yards per carry and a score on ten touches to lead the running backs. Bryan Kariya notched two scores on six carries (35 yards, 5.8 avg). Cody Hoffman is still proving himself to be the go-to guy through the air. He had 6 receptions for 114 yards and 2 TDs. His season stats are: 43 grabs, 672 yards, 6 TDs. The Offense had a nice blend of rushing attack (243 yards) and passing (262 yards) and dominated in time of possession, 34:02 – 25:58.
Defense Grade: B+
LB Kyle Van Noy (9 solo tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 2 TFLs) continues to demonstrate why he’ll be on every pre-season All-American list next year. It was nice to see Jordan Johnson and Alani Fua getting some more experience on the field – both played well. Johnson and Spencer Hadley each a pick, and Hadley returned his 48 yards. For all intents and purposes, the Defense hurled a shutout; Idaho got their points on the board in the last 4 minutes of the game when they were down by six scores. The Defense held Idaho to 10 first downs and 241 total yards.
Special Teams Grade: B
Justin Sorensen was perfect on six extra point attempts but missed on two field goal attempts of 35 and 47 yards. Riley Stephenson handled two punts for a 42-yard average with one kick inside the Vandals 20. Hoffman had a 38-yard kickoff return, and Falslev fielded three punts for seven total yards.
Coaching Grade: B+
The coaching staff kept the team from growing complacent during their two-week break. And they were smart enough to make sure James Lark got some field action. It will be important to get him some more playing time next week against New Mexico State, too, because at this point, he’s one injury away from being the starting QB for Brigham Young.
Overall Team Grade: B+