Week 9: BYU vs Boise State
What a roller coaster ride of a season the BYU football team is having. The season started out with so much promise but has quickly turned ugly for the Cougars. Yet, after losing three straight games there are a few bright spots. The offense put up some big numbers and scored 35 last week, which should always be enough to win. Injuries have decimated the team and the defense just looks bad. Really bad. Throughout the week I have been reading a lot about how the defense needs to shape up. I agree with those feelings but some other areas of the game could also improve to help the defense out. Here are a few:
Turnovers & Field Position
Turnovers and field position are critical for BYU in this game. Last week, Nevada started half (3/6) of their 2nd half possession in BYU territory. Can you guess how many of those possessions ended in touchdowns? All three. In all, Nevada scored 29 points in the second half. Contrast that with the fact that Nevada started ZERO drives in BYU territory in the 1st half. How many points? 13. BYU needs to control field position on Friday night. In fact here is breakdown of opponents drives starting in BYU territory for the three losses:
-TD = 7 -FG = 1
-Missed FG = 2 -Turnovers = 0
I am trying to point out that although the defense has been giving up a lot of points, there are other factors at play other than just the defense itself. The offense and special teams need to take some blame for not winning the field position battle and putting the defense in bad spots.
Time of Possession
BYU ranks 111th in the country in time of possession which should come as no surprise considering their offensive style. That means that the defense spends a large amount of time on the field. When has the BYU defense gotten in to trouble? They give up most of their points in the 2nd quarter and in the 4th quarter. This is where the injuries on defense are really hurting BYU. Fatigue and inexperience are a dangerous combination, as we have seen. The defense needs to make plays early in each series to get off the field and the offense needs to string out some long possession. Out of the 13 possession BYU had against Nevada, they held the ball for under two minutes 7 times. The offense needs to sustain drives and keep the defense off the field to let them rest and stay fresh since so many guys are out of the action.
This one could come down to turnovers. Whoever wins turnovers will typically win field position and time of possession. If BYU wins the turnover battle, they win. BYU 34, BSU 31.