As the BYU Cougars took on the Wyoming Cowboys today in Provo, the weather was ugly. The fans didn't fill the stadium for the first time in a while (probably due to weather). And while the game was a victory for the Cougars, it did not come in the most beautiful fashion. There were however, many positives that I was able to take away from the game today. Even amidst the penalties, dropped passes and late scores I have never been this encouraged about the future of BYU football.BYU Defense
The defense was outstanding today! Through one half of football Wyoming had -11 yards of total offense. Through 3 quarters the Pokes had eeked out less than 40 yards of total offense. But in the 4th quarter the Pokes came alive behind the arm and feet of Austyn Carta-Samuels. Two plays after a 47 yard run by Robert Herron, Carta-Samuels hit Chris McNiell for a wide open 16 yard touchdown to bring Wyoming within 5. On their final drive, which started at their own 13 the Cowboys converted a 4th and 9 near mid-field, but could not convert on 4th down and 10 at the BYU 25. Once again the BYU defense came up big, just as they did against the Washington Huskies and the San Diego St. Aztecs in the 4th quarter.
On the first drive of the game the BYU offense looked like they were just going to run over the Cowboys for four straight quarters. The BYU backs were picking up huge chunks of yardage at will. But then something went wrong. I don't know if the Wyoming defense made that good of adjustments or if the BYU offense just got a little lackadaisical, but whatever it was, our offense went back into the duldrums. After Jake Heaps threw a pick-six and "Juice" fumbled the ball on the BYU 25 to set up a Wyoming field, things were not looking good, but with the defense dominating I was sitting comfortable.
Receivers still struggled through out the day to catch Jake Heaps passes, but in the end Heaps was able to connect on big passes to Mathews and Ashworth (1 TD) to move the ball.
What makes me excited for the future?
The play of young guys like Jake Heaps (FR), Kyle Van Noy (FR), Joshua Quezada (FR), Brandon Ogletree (SO), Jadon Wagner (JR), Marcus Mathews (FR), and J.D. Falslev (FR) leave me feeling like this "re-building year" will be short lived. I mean these guys are all so young and with the exception of Jadon Wagner, they are all inexperienced, mostly freshmen.
Van Noy and Ogletree came up with big plays all day long. Van Noy in the first half and Ogletree in the second. It is becoming more and more apparent that these guys are settling in to their roles on defenise. They are starting to feel comfortable inside the scheme and are playing with new energy under Bronco. I like seeing a healthy Jadon Wagner back on the field. He has made some big plays in the last three weeks also, and is taking advantage of his chance to play. The BYU LBs are no longer a question mark.
The Juice is loose. Quezada is going to be a fantastic runner at BYU. I know he has put the ball on the turf a couple times this year, but this kid is very encouraging and will only get better.
I love the intensity of Falslev on the returns. So far he has been sure handed, tough and runs hard down hill.
The commentators made a comment about BYU coaches wanting to make Mathews a TE at 6'5" 215. I sure hope not. He is our best receiver right now and is a nice big target down the field. Aside from the fumble against TCU, this guy has played really well the last few games.
Our first year of independence will be one to remember for sure.