BYU Football: BYU vs ECU 10/10/15
I am a little behind in getting my preview and prediction posted for the week so let’s just jump straight into what I will be watching for this Saturday when ECU travels to Provo to take on the Cougars.
1. ECU QB Play
I am expecting ECU to go with Junior QB James Summers as the starter against the Cougars this Saturday. He replaced starter Blake Kemp last week after Kemp threw two early INT’s against SMU. With ECU down 23-7, Summers rallied the Pirates to a 49-23 win. The ECU offense was very impressive when he was in the game. Here is a look at his numbers: 9/10 for 153 yards and 2TD’s with 9 rushes for 85 yards. The BYU defense will probably look back at their game against Nebraska where they held another mobile QB, Tommy Armstrong Jr., to 2 yards on 9 carries. However, I think Armstrong was making a conscious effort not to run in Mike Riley’s offensive scheme, so that might not be the best indicator.
Which brings me to my next point:
2. The BYU Defense
The element of the game on Saturday that I am most excited to watch is the BYU defense. It may be the first time this season we will see the defense as it should look. There hasn’t been a single snap this season where Nacua, Langi, and Tuiloma have all played together. Hopefully on Saturday, they get the chance and we get to watch.
I have said this for weeks but a HUGE key for the BYU defense in stopping the run and this mobile QB is if BYU NG Tuiloma will be ready to play this week. Bronco said earlier this week that Tuilmoa may be available for the game but I haven’t seen a definitive yes at this point. It will have been 5 weeks since his MCL injury which is usually tabbed as a 4-6 week recovery so I expect him to be back on Saturday. If for no other reason than to give me something else to write about, I hope he plays. It is also likely that LB Langi will return for the Cougars this week as well after missing the UCONN game with an injury.
I am excited to see what the defense can do when firing on all cylinders.
3. Protecting the QB
Defensively, both teams come in with 13 sacks this season. The discrepancy lies in who is allowing more sacks. BYU is tied for 2nd to last in the nation (125th, really?) for sacks allowed with 18. The only team worse? SMU, who ECU had a hay day rushing the QB last week. ECU on the other hand is 40th and have only allowed 7 sacks on the year. This is a part of the game that must change for BYU. The protection will need to step up their game this week against the blitzing LB’s from ECU and Mangum will have to decide quicker to throw the ball away. Some big sacks could kill drives and hurt BYU.
I am really excited that the defense could finally have the chance to show what they can do with some injured guys returning (hopefully). We will see how well the coaches prepared the Cougars to prevent sacks (on offense) and defend a mobile QB. If the preparation is good, BYU wins.