BYU travels to Austin, Texas to face the Longhorns for the third time in four seasons. The Cougars have gone from 4.5 point underdogs, to now being favored by a point as early as yesterday evening. They’re also coming off of a dominant performance against UConn on the road last week.
Since last years 40-21 romping in Provo, the Longhorns football squad has been what some may call, a dumpster fire. A lot of questions have surfaced, down in the heart of Texas, surrounding the state of the football program with one of the largest athletic budgets. A brand new coach; Multiple suspensions; Concussion to starting quarterback David Ash; Not all is well in Longhorn land.
But can BYU actually get the win? A recent conversation with a friend of mine recalled some similar circumstances with recent games against Oregon State. Flashback to 2012:
The previous season, BYU gets a comfortable win against the Beavers who finished the the year 3-9. 2012 comes and they return virtually every one on their roster. The Cougars are seemingly confident from 2011’s victory, their starting quarterback, Riley Nelson, is back from injury (though he truly wasn’t), the team is rocking the black out uniforms and the game is being broadcast by ESPN on ABC. The Beavers are the tenth ranked team in the country, but their starting quarterback, Sean Mannion is out for the game in Provo.
The Cougars and Beavers go pound for pound, matching scores. It’s tied at 21 going into the fourth quarter. Instead of matching Oregon State’s next touchdown, the Cougars settle for a field goal (shocker). It’s 28-24, and the BYU defense cannot stop the Beavers. Markus Wheaton then scores his third touchdown of the game, first on the ground.
With the game still not out of reach at 35-24, the Cougars have solid field position looking to answer with only five minutes remaining. Riley Nelson throws the quick pass to Ross Apo split out. Of course, the pass is at Apo’s shoelaces. He tries to catch it, doesn’t, and it ricochet’s up and Oregon State seals the game with a 49 yard Pick-6. BYU played solid football for about 55 minutes.
Flashback a previous season at the very stadium BYU plays in tomorrow evening on Fox Sports 1. The Cougars have moved the ball well but only boast a 13-3 lead at halftime due to the first two drives stalling in a couple field goals. The same result would be BYU’s only other score of the game. The offense went stagnant behind Jake Heaps which led to the defense being on the field too much. Texas takes the lead with a Cody Johnson touchdown run with over eight minutes left. That would result in the final score.
Dominant first half, but letting off the gas petal in the second half. Much like UConn last week, but the Huskies didn’t have what it took to keep the game close.
Now, stay with me here. Don’t scroll down to the comments section and blast me for negativity just yet. I know, I know. Typical Chesh to bust out of the gates with negativity. Hang on. Couple things: 1. Texas’ backup quarterback Tyrone Swoopes will be playing. 2. They aren’t a top ten team and 3. Taysom Hill is very much as capable of playing well enough to lead his team to victory. 4. BYU’s multiple suspensions have been lifted. The Cougars are fully loaded. The suspensions for the Longhorns continue and half their offensive line will be out. They have a brand new head coach in Charlie Strong and they still don’t know how good they are after beating North Texas 38-7. Okay, that wasn’t a couple things, it was four.
The Cougars do have what it takes to get this victory. Now, as they’re no longer an underdog, the Longhorns still remember the 40-21 shellacking in Provo last season. They still want revenge, and they came from behind to win the last time these two schools met in Austin. I’m justified in being a little nervous, though I’m still confident this team can win.
They need to be ready and not over confident about last year’s victory. Texas is still vulnerable. Step on the throat Coach Mendenhall. Don’t let off the gas petal and prove why you believe this team belongs in the Big-12 Conference.
Hook those Horn’s … again.
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