Blue Blood: Dominant win sets BYU up for strong finish

COMMENTARY — Sometimes in football, you need an old-fashioned tail-whupping to get things headed in the right direction.

BYU, from start to finish, was completely dominant over the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech last Saturday. It is always an impressive feat for a west coast football team to travel back to the east coast and fly home with a dominating victory.

The Cougars held the No. 3-ranked rushing team in the nation to 157 total offensive yards. If it wasn’t for a pick-six and a kickoff return for a touchdown, Georgia Tech might not have scored a touchdown against BYU.

The defense was once again solid, the caliber of a top-10 ranked program. Only this time, the Cougars offense was great as well. True freshman Jamaal Williams was brilliant with four touchdowns and 107 yards on the ground. Cody Hoffman was Riley Nelson’s go-to receiver once again and had 69 yards. Another bright offensive note was that JD Falslev had 182 all-purpose yards for his new career high. All in all it went better than most people expected and the Cougars are back to their winning ways heading into this week’s bye.

As a player, I always had mixed emotions about bye weeks during the long seasons. At first, you look at it as about the midway point of the entire season and a great opportunity to recover a little and watch other teams play all weekend.

The years where I was on a team that was struggling, it was tough. A coaching staff feeling pressure to rack up a few more wins before the end of the season, may feel the need to overwork players with long practices, thus making players feel burnt out. If your team was in great position with a winning record, the coaching staff was more likely to give the players some well-needed time off.

Either way, it’s a good time for us to take a look at the entire season to date. A 5-4record is not usually something to be happy with heading into the bye week. Losing 3 games to ranked opponents (two of which are in the top 10) by less than a combined total of 7 points is tough to stomach. Having a defense in the top 10 in every category is a great feat, but doesn’t really matter if the team falls short of victory.

I personally am feeling OK about where BYU is at this season. I would have loved for the Cougars to have knocked off Notre Dame, Utah, Boise State and Oregon State. But none of these teams are slouches and BYU put up a fight in every contest. There has not been once ounce of give-up for even one second this season. These players are tough and giving it their all. Again, don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I would love to see BYU undefeated and heading into the possibilities of a huge bowl game, but the ball has not bounced their way in 2012. These games were decided by just a play or two and unfortunately there were some inconsistencies with the team this year. The Cougars should use this as a growing experience to move forward and finish strong.

Some Key Notes at the Bye week:

  • BYU has a very young true freshman running back in Jamaal Williams who has the potential to be the best running back BYU has seen since Luke Staley.
  • BYU also has a freshman QB in Taysom Hill who although he is recovering from a knee injury, should be as great leader for BYU for years to come. It was nice to get a chance to watch him play this season.
  • The Cougars have a great receiving corps that should be around for another year or two (including Cody Hoffman, JD Falslev, Ross Apo, and Kaneakua Friel).
  • This team’s defense is arguably the best BYU has ever had and is ranked in the top 10 in virtually every single statistical category.
  • BYU has a couple of star defensive players that will be back next year in Daniel Sorenson and Kyle Van Noy.
  • With BYU having a very weak schedule from here on out, the Cougars will likely finish 8-4, qualifying them for a bowl game (The Poinsettia in San Diego) the chance to end this season at 9-4. How can even the most cynical BYU fans complain about that considering how difficult the schedule was this year.

I am excited to see how the rest of this 2012 season pans out. The Cougars have three games left: Idaho, San Jose State, and New Mexico State. These are all games that BYU should come out with a victory.


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  • Chris Reeve November 2, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I think a lot of the disappointment was the hype and expectations surrounding the team heading into the season, including statements made by Coach Mendenhall about a Top 25 finish being insufficient, and a Top 10 finish being the goal. It could be a stretch for BYU to end up ranked at the end of this season; they certainly do not belong in the top 10 if they cannot beat any ranked teams. For me this is probably the biggest issue: hype, including by coaches, that this year (like 2008) was going to be special. More sky-high but ultimately unmet expectations. Another frustration for fans is the realization that with much of the defensive front seven gone next year due to graduation, a graduating quarterback and some offensive lineman, a couple who could leave early (KVN and Cody Hoffman could go pro after this seasons), and a brutal schedule in 2013 and 2014, this was the year for BYU to end up in the top 10 if they are to do so. Results in big games this season have fans like me wondering whether we’ll head to a bowl next year.

  • Andrew Syme November 2, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    It’s very easy to feel disappointed in the team this year. The losses we have were not all to ranked teams, and the losses were painful not because we were up against overwhelming opposition, but because we have and offense that doesn’t function well. It’s come to the point where I don’t feel like I’m watching BYU football at all. Since when has it been said that in order to win a game that BYU’s defense would have to hold an opponent to 0 touchdowns and also score to keep the team ahead. It’s been true this year. Next year will be impossible if we are playing the same style of offense. This year didn’t have to be as bad as it has been. It’s been poorly managed, poorly coached and at least by the offense, poorly played. This is not a disappointment that is hard to enumerate. It’s been awful.

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