This Saturday night BYU meets Georgia Tech in an intriguing matchup at Lavell Edwards Stadium. On paper these teams seem evenly matched. Both teams enter the game with a record of 3-2. Both teams have top national rushing attacks with BYU coming in at 13th with 279 yards per game and GT at 7th with 300 yards per game. The defenses are also closely matched as GT is 20th in total defense and BYU is 24th. And finally 3rd down defense has BYU 21st and GT 28th. I repeated just a few of the stats but from the look of things we should have a good game on our hands.
Over the past few weeks the BYU passing game has looked better. Taysom Hill has been steadily improving with his accuracy and the dropped passes have declined. The Cougars passed a huge test against a very talented USU defense last weekend. As for this Saturday, both teams rank low in passing offense with BYU at 95th and GT at 115th. The difference I see between the two offenses is that the BYU pass game is on the rise. In my opinion we have only begun to see what the offense can do. I wrote last week in my recap that BYU drives needed to be more consistent. We see them cruise down the field with ease one drive only to punt the ball away the next few drives on three-and-outs. I will be looking for and expecting an improvement in overall offensive consistency, red zone efficiency, and…
Prediction: No turnovers. Zero. Zip. Nada. (knocking on wood and holding my breath)
I was reading another post this week on TBS by Cris Balmanno about the BYU defense and he made a point that resonated with me: the BYU defense is at times frustrating to watch. They seem content to let a team drive down the field one minute and then turn the switch into a defensive powerhouse. Frustrating, yes, but as for the bend-but-don’t-break defense I say “go with it ‘till it stops working” (Seinfeld, anyone?). I expect GT to have better success moving the football this year (last year they only had 157 total yards) but I have no reason to believe that the defense will not tighten up when it needs to.
Prediction: BYU holds GT to field goals in the red zone.
I have a little bit less confidence in making a call for this game-probably because GT had Miami at 23-24 in the 4th quarter last week before the game got away from them. In the end I think the Cougars will get the job done but that the game will feel closer than the score. The key to the game will be which team is more effective in the red zone.
Prediction: BYU 30, GT 16