Week 1: BYU @ Nebraska 9/5/15
At long last, the 2015 BYU Football season kicks off this Saturday when the Cougars travel to Lincoln to take on the Cornhuskers of Nebraska. Although neither team is ranked in the Top 25 to start the season, they both received some votes in the AP and USA Today Coaches polls. This is the first game between the two programs and Nebraska is reportedly paying the Cougars $1 million to make the trip.
Back in Blue
Taysom is back! This is the single element that makes me both very excited and very nervous about the upcoming season. I think most people have very little doubt that he will return to his Heisman candidate form. When he is on the field he will be great. The biggest question is if he will remain healthy. I know every run/scramble he makes this season I will be holding my breath when he gets hit below the waste. Every. Single. Time.
As for this game against Nebraska I think Taysom will show brilliance as well as some rust and jitters. I think we will still see him lower the shoulder and take guys on, but he will pick his spots. If the game is close, as I expect it to be, I think we will see him be more of his hard-hitting self.
I expect ~275 yards in the air, ~90 on the ground for Hill. Just another day at the office.
Over the Top
One definition of “over the top” is “having gained more than one’s goal.” Another is to throw the ball long. I think these will both be themes of the game. I don’t have a lot of trust in this unproven BYU defense, especially the secondary. I expect a lot of plays on both sides to be over-the-top. We will learn a lot about how this team has responded to Bronco Mendenhall taking a major role in the defense again this season. I do expect BYU’s defense to be tough against the Nebraska rush attack who seeks to replace RB Ameer Abdullah. However, the Nebraska offensive scheme is sure to change to a more pass-heavy approach with new head coach Mike Riley. See next point…
A Familiar Foe
BYU has played against Mike Riley a few times in recent years when he was the head coach at Oregon State. He will be making a major offensive transition at Nebraska which will hopefully work in BYU’s favor in this game. There will be kinks to work out and BYU is at least familiar with how Mike Riley runs his offense. During the Bronco era, BYU is 2 out of 3 against Mike Riley. The lone loss coming when Riley Nelson was the BYU quarterback in 2012 so I don’t know if that really counts.
The BYU defensive secondary will be tested early and often in this game with the new offensive scheme at Nebraska. If this game was going to feature the heavy rush attack of the Nebraska of old, I would be more certain of a BYU victory. With poor pass rush/secondary play last season, the BYU defense has a lot to prove.
For the game as a whole I expect a high-scoring shoot-out. There will most likely be some suspensions from the bowl game brawl that hurt the defense and Nebraska has about 5 suspensions of their own. I think the new offense at Nebraska will have too many kinks and the BYU offense will be too much for Nebraska.
BYU 45, Nebraska 35
and… BYU goes home with a cool $1 million. Not a bad weekend for the Cougars.