Posts tagged Utah State
The 2011 season is one-third of the way in the books and BYU has racked up an embarrassing total of 64 points, with only 50 of those points on the board from the Offense. That puts the Cougars on track to score 192 points this year.
To put that in perspective, that’s 200 points less than Lavell Edwards’ teams averaged per season during his tenure. Want more perspective? BYU scored 201 points in Brandon Doman’s first 4 games of his senior year (2001) and went on to score 608 during the regular season.
Team psychology, or where are these teams’ heads at?
Utah State boggles the mind. They had Auburn on the ropes in the opening weekend, leading 38-28 with 2:07 remaining in the game. They blew their 10-point lead and lost 42-38. The following week, they thrashed Weber State, 54-17 (don’t laugh Cougar fans, BYU plays the Wildcats next year) and then they lost in double overtime at home to Colorado State, 35-34. In that game, the Aggies led 21-13 with 5:33 remaining in the fourth quarter and they blew that lead.
BYU boggles the mind, too. The Cougars sport an offense that’s been impotent in each of the first four games this season (12.5 point average per game, folks). They snuck out of Oxford, Mississippi with a 14-13 win thanks to the defense, but Ole Miss is 1-3 with their only win coming against Div I-AA Southern Illinois (which managed to rack up 100 more total yards than BYU did).
The Cougars managed to look fairly competitive during the first half at Texas but got outscored 17-0 in the second half and lost by a point. Trying to describe the 54-10 shellacking at the hands of archrival Utah is an exercise in futility because it was just so damn pitiful with 7 turnovers and an entire length of the gridiron in penalties. And last week, the special teams won the game against a decent Central Florida team that dominated the Cougars in total yardage, 399-260.
Defense by the numbers
- Scoring defense: BYU ranked 67, Utah State ranked 97
- Passing efficiency defense: BYU 44, Utah State 88
- Rushing defense: Utah State 16, BYU 62
- Total defense: Utah State 12, BYU 47
- Turnover margin: BYU 87, Utah State 110
Offense by the numbers
- Team passing: BYU 66, Utah State 105
- Team rushing: Utah State 5, BYU 116
- Scoring: Utah State 14, BYU 109
- Total offense: Utah State 16, BYU 111
Special Teams by the numbers
- Team Punting: Utah State 4, BYU 82
- Punting: Tyler Bennett, USU, 13, Riley Stephenson, BYU , 32
- Team Punt returns: Utah State, 27, BYU 57
- Field Goals: Justin Sorenson, BYU, 37 – USU, no ranking
- Kickoff Returns: Cody Hoffman, BYU 26 – USU, no ranking
- Significant injuries: Utah State – none, BYU – Houston Reynolds, doubtful, Jordan Pendleton, questionable
- Aggie running back Robert Turbin is averaging nearly 122 yards per game (5.7 yards per carry).
- Freshman signal caller Chuckie Keaton has not tossed an interception yet this season and is ranked among the top 50 quarterbacks in the nation in passing efficiency.
- BYU QB Jake Heaps is not on that list. He’s also been eliminated from consideration for most of the major quarterback awards with 8 games still to play.
BYU has played the tougher schedule, so a lot of the numbers you see above are deceiving. Factor in a touch of home field advantage, a bit of revenge for last year, a solid defense against the rush, plus a sagging Aggie confidence and a Cougar offense that finally begins to show what was expected from the get-go this season. The crystal ball says it all adds up to a BYU win: 30-24.
Offense Grade with Jake Heaps (8 possessions, 2 FGs, 1 TD): C-
Offense Grade with Riley Nelson (4 possessions, 2 TDs, 1 missed FG, 1 fumble): A-
Talk about a tale of two offenses. Riley Nelson energized the entire team near the end of the third quarter and the offense promptly doubled the total yardage and points they had scored with Heaps at the helm. If not for DiLuigi’s fumble at the Utah State 28-yard line on the third drive under Nelson, the Cougars could’ve had another score.
Nelson’s line compared to Heaps:
Nelson: 10 of 14 (71.4%), 144 yards (10.3 yds per att), 2 TDs and 205.0 QB Rating.
Heaps: 11 of 26 (42.3%) 108 yards (4.2 yds per att), 77.2 QB Rating.
Nelson also ended up as BYU’s leading rusher with 62 yards on 11 carries (5.6 yd avg). DiLuigi gained 50 yards on 11 carries (4.5 yd avg) and he had a costly fumble at the Aggie 28-yard line with 4 minutes remaining that almost cost the Cougars the game. Bryan Kariya pounded out 42 yards on 11 rushs (3.8 avg) and Josh Quezada had 10 carries good for 40 yards and a 4.0 avg.
Several of Jake Heaps passes were dropped. It literally seemed like the receiver corps improved with Nelson at the helm. Cody Hoffman had a brilliant TD catch and finished with 4 grabs for 68 yards. McKay Jacobson had 3 receptions for 49 yards including a 40-yard gainer that kept the game-winning drive alive, and Marcus Mathews had 6 grabs for 46 yards and the winning TD.
Defense Grade: B-
You could literally call it a tale of two defenses, as well. The defense gave up 21 points to USU while Jake Heaps was in the game. After Nelson entered, they surrendered one FG. It didn’t hurt that the offense ate up over 10 minutes of clock under Nelson’s command. The defense was energized by an offense that could move the ball and they responded with some huge stops to keep the game within striking distance. Daniel Sorenson made a huge pass breakup on the Aggie’s 4th down fake punt attempt.
The Aggies gashed the defense for 283 yards on the ground, but only gave up 122 yards through the air. Aggie quarterback Chuckie Keeton was held to 52 percent completions and only 22 yards on 6 carries, effectively limiting his big play capability. 80 yards were consumed on USU’s first possession and first play of the game from scrimmage with Robert Turbin’s touchdown scamper.
Special Teams Grade: B
Definitely not the shining star like last week. Justin Sorenson hit 2 out of 3 field goal attempts … his one miss could have been a killer in the end. J.D. Falslev misplayed a crucial punt at the 3-minute mark in the final quarter and the ball rolled to the BYU 4-yard line. He could have fielded the punt and kept the ball out around the 30 to help the cause. It was a huge mental mistake.
Riley Stephenson had a 44.8-yard punting average on 4 punts and Cody Hoffman returned 4 kicks for 90 yards. Kickoff and punt coverage was quite solid. Ezekial Ansah had a really sweet tackle on one Aggie kickoff return.
Coaching Grade: B
Quite frankly, this grade is inflated only because the tough but necessary decision to yank Heaps in favor of Nelson was made before it was too late to salvage the game.
Without the warrior mentality that Nelson brought to the field (which seemed to be contagious almost immediately), the team was incredibly lethargic on both sides of the ball. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion.
It will be very interesting to see how the team responds from here on with Nelson in the signal caller driver’s seat. How will Doman deal with the emotional fallout young Heaps is certain to experience?
Overall Team Grade: B-
If the team had been better prepared and played with more passion from the start, they would have won this game more decisively.