Week 2: BYU vs Boise State 9/12/15
The #20 Boise State Broncos come to Provo this Saturday to take on BYU at LES. BYU saw an increase in AP top 25 votes this week and came in at #27, just outside the top 25. BYU is 1-4 all-time against BSU. Last year, as much as I would like to forget it, BSU blasted BYU 55-30. I still feel that the BYU defense had to be playing with only 10 guys as they gave up 410 yards in the air and another 227 yards on the ground. Yikes! The only time BYU has won was a 37-20 game at home in 2013 when Hill passed for 339 and BYU rushed for 229. Sadly, we won’t see Hill in this game, but we will see Tanner Mangum.
So who has the edge this weekend? It will be an interesting game as BYU and BSU seem to have weaknesses that play in to the other teams strengths. Let’s take a look at a few keys to the game and who has the edge.
It has been a busy week for both Tanner Mangum and auto-correct programs everywhere (auto correct really wants his name to be Magnum). The freshman QB stepped in to the spotlight during the Nebraska game and didn’t disappoint. Aside from throwing the “Miracle at Memorial”, Mangum put up some great stats, exuded confidence and grit, and most importantly kept the BYU team focused. I don’t want to write about the Hail-Mary or the 4th and 1 to Kurtz. The play that really stood out to me was when with under 1 minute, facing 2nd and 10, Mangum couldn’t find an open receiver and he started running. With no time-outs this was a dangerous undertaking. So what did he do? He ran as hard and fast and he could, dove for the first down marker, and got it. Moved the chains, stopped the clock. He got my vote at that moment. The key is that he makes plays.
As for this week, BSU doesn’t bring much experience in at QB either. Sophomore QB Ryan Finley got the starting nod last week but only threw for 129 yards (16/26) with 0 TD and 1 INT. His ADJ QBR is 68.0. Compare that to Mangum who was 7/11 with 111 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT and an ADJ QBR of 89.9. Now it has only been one game but I give Mangum and BYU the edge at the QB position but you never know with this BYU secondary. They have a tendency to make opposing QB’s look really good.
With Hill out, the biggest offensive concern for BYU in this game (and the rest of the season) is the rush attack. BSU gave up a meager 29 rushing yards on 22 carries last week against Washington. Here is the breakdown of BYU RB stats from last week, this excludes QB & WR carries and yards:[box type=”shadow” ]-Hine: 4 for 37 yards -Brown: 3 for 1 yard -Carter: 4 for -11 yards[/box]
Yikes! If BYU has trouble getting the run game going, which is likely, expect to see a lot of RB Algernon Brown catching some short passes in the flat to try and open things up, much like Utah did with RB Booker against Michigan.
BSU on the other hand racked up 185 yards rushing with QB Finley accumulating 30 of them. RB Jeremy McNichols is also a sophomore with limited experience but had a respectable game last week tallying 89 yards on the ground. Needless to say, BSU will have the edge in the running game this week.
The BYU receiving corp did not disappoint last week against Nebraska. They are the reason to be excited to have Tanner Mangum throwing the ball around. The best sign was that 9 players had a reception against Nebraska (granted Hill was spreading the ball around nicely). There are weapons all over the field for which is great for freshman QB. I expect Mangum to spread the ball around in this game. Boise St. did spread the ball around nicely but only totaled 152 yards last week. Mathews and Kurtz easily surpassed that number. Easy call, BYU has the edge with the receiving corp against BSU this weekend.
The BYU defense was well, OK against Nebraska. There were some bright spots in the 2nd and 4th quarters but overall not a great day. The biggest concern for me is the loss of NG Tuiloma. When he exited the game with and MCL sprain, the middle opened up for the Nebraska rushing attack. As I mentioned before the BSU defense was stout against the run last week and gave up only 179 total yards. Granted Nebraska and Washington may not be on the same playing field but I give the edge to BSU in this game.
Against Nebraska BYU was great on special teams, especially P Jonny Lineham and PK Trevor Samson. Against BSU this week field position could become a pivotal factor. BYU P Lineham outperformed the BSU punter last weekend. Linehan averaged 51 yards per punt (5 punts) with a long of 77. BSU’s P Sean Wale averaged 40.2 yards per punt (6 punts) with a long of 50. Hopefully the these trends continue and BYU has the edge in special teams. Both place kickers hit their field goal attempts but BSU did have one PTA blocked. I give the edge to BYU.
I expect a tough fought game from both sides. BYU should have the advantage with the passing game and special teams and I think that gives them the win. I expect a close game with BYU winning 24-21 and moving in to the top 25.
O Captain! My Captain!
I couldn’t post an article without saying something about Taysom Hill. There is no doubt that the team and fans will be wishing Hill was still playing in this game. I know I will. Make no mistake, I am excited to see what Mangum can do but Hill was so dynamic and exciting. One of the best reads about Taysom’s season ending injury, written by another TBS contributor, said it best:[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]“Taysom has leapt over defenders and into our hearts. I’m confident in speaking for Cougar nation when I say that our hearts have leapt for Taysom. We love you. You are our quarterback, our captain and our leader.” -Jimmie Chesh[/box]
I look forward to seeing what the fans at LES do this weekend to show their appreciation for what Taysom has meant to the BYU football program. Thanks Taysom and Go Cougars!