Notes from the BYU loss to UW
BYU fell to UW on Friday night 31-16 in the Fight Hunger Bowl to end the Cougars season. It was a season of ups and downs. Let’s take a look at Friday’s game and then a preview for the season recap.
Review the Preview:
In my preview for the Fight Hunger Bowl between BYU and Washington I wrote that BYU needed to do three things to win, let’s see how they did:
- Convert in the Red Zone: BYU once again could not get things going in the red zone and they only scored one TD for the game. The offense racked up 473 yards but could only muster 16 points. Red Zone efficiency should be an emphasis going into spring camp.
- Win the penalties: The game was actually a pretty clean game with both teams only having 5 penalties. BYU however lost 50 yards to penalties compared to UW’s 24 yards (5 of which came on an intentional delay of game).
- Convert on 3rd down: BYU actually converted on more third downs than UW at 35% compared to 33%. This is more of a token to BYU’s defense holding UW down from their 50% season average. BYU was actually down from their season average of 37%.
This is the element of the game that surprised me and really told the tale of the BYU loss. The special teams were a mess the whole game: 100 yard kickoff return for a TD, a few short kicks that yielding huge yards, a botched punt attempt, and a missed field goal. BYU’s athletic disadvantage showed up here the most. I was sitting next to my Dad watching the game when John Ross broke free for the 100 yard return. My dad said, “He’s gone.” I said, “no, they will catch him.” Then he side-stepped the kicker and two BYU players made a last diving effort and off he went. On the replay BYU looked so slow compared to Ross. BYU typically makes up for their lack of athleticism by precision and execution (Bronco’s favorite words). Friday night they did not execute well, lost containment, and special teams told the story of the game.
Defensive Shout Out:
The BYU defense came to play. They held Bishop Sanky to 95 yards (on 21 attempts) rushing and Keith Price to 123 yards passing. If you would have told me that those two impact players would have those types of games, I would have said BYU won by at least 10.
Play of the Game:
For the last time I get to give the play of the game to Kyle Van Noy. KVN made a huge 4th down stop after a botched BYU punt to keep the game from slipping away from early. We will all miss the impact KVN had on the BYU defense, whether he directly made the plays or it took two blockers to contain him, he had a huge impact on every snap.
End of the Road:
BYU’s season comes to a close at a disappointing 8-5. The offense was the talk of the offseason last year and will likely be the talk this year as well. BYU’s new go hard, go fast offense shined at times but was dreary at others. In the 5 BYU losses, the offense failed to get out of the teens in points scored. Look for my season recap for a more detailed analysis of the entire year and what we can look forward to next year.