While I am not naive enough to actually think that anyone from the BYU football team read my post from yesterday about who needs to have a big game, I had to wonder as I watched the game unfold. We'll get into the nitty gritty here in a minute, but I'd have to say that everyone I though needed to have a big game delivered and surpassed my expectations.
We also need to address how a TCU victory rounded out a perfect day...
No. 1 - Jake Heaps
Jake came up big and had a great day. People will say that this was a weak defense and a bad team and that is true, but keep this in mind; BYU's offense put up more points, and quicker, than the TCU Horned Frogs, Utah Utes, Nevada Wolf Pack and Wisconsin Badgers. So I'd say Jake Heaps had an exceptional day!
I wanted Jake Heaps to complete over 65% of his passes, throw more TDs than INTs and have a passer rating over 110. Jake's actual stats? Heaps was 19/31 (61%) for 294 yds (season high) and threw 2 TDs. His passer rating? A season best 162.25.
No. 2 - Offensive Line
The BYU offense rushed for 216 yards. Their season high, and it was clear right from the first drive that the line of scrimmage was going to be dominated by BYU. On top of that the O Line did not give up any sacks on the day! They did everything I expected from them. It was traditional BYU Football yesterday.
No. 3 - WR's
I can't believe, people were actually catching balls down the field yesterday. They cut their "acting" plays down to just two on the day (trying to get a PI call instead of catching the ball). That is a season low. Better than that is the fact that Heaps found both Luke Ashworth and Cody Hoffman in the endzone. My only let down was not seeing McKay in the endzone, but it was his best game year to date.
I can only hope that this was not a fluke, and that the BYU pass game is ready to roll the rest of the year.
No. 4 - Shane Hunter
Shane set the tone of the game on the opening kick off and although he did not get double digit tackles, he did lead the team on the day with 5 tackles. It is tough to get a bunch of tackles when you are not on the field. The BYU defense only allow 3 of 14 3rd downs to be converted. The UNLV Rebels only managed 144 total yards on offense, half of which came on the last drive of the game against the 4th string defense. Needless to say Shane did not have a lot of opportunities, but made the most of them.
No. 5 - OLB's
The outside linebackers for the Cougars played great. Jadon Wagner set the tone early for this group with a nice TFL on 2nd down of the Rebels opening drive. This group finished with 4 tackles for loss on the day, two of which were QB sacks.
So on for a game I was not originally looking forward to, it turned out to be a great day. We looked like a Division I football team (making me happily eat my words that our offense v UNLV defense would be more like a high school all-star game). We operated on both sides like the traditional BYU Football team I love. Let's hope this confidence and execution continues against the Colorado St. Rams this week.
As a side note...
Just when I didn't think the day could get any better I had to happily eat my words again (predicting a Utah victory over TCU) when TCU rolled over Utah 47-7. Andy Dalton had a CAREER day against the Utes. Yes, that's right, the quarterback that is on pace to become the winningest college quarterback of all time had his best day ever against the #5 Utah Utes. The icing on the cake has to be that the Oregon Ducks (v. Washington Huskies), Auburn Tigers (v. Tennessee Chatanooga), and Boise St. Broncos (v. Hawaii Warriors) could not beat there mediocre and 1-AA opponents by as much as the Horned Frogs beat the Utes. On a day with plenty of blow outs, the #5 team in the nation got blown out the worst. This either means that TCU is so good that they deserve to be in the national title game, or that Utah really was the most overrated team in the land, and were #5 as a product of a weak schedule.
Either way, I love the irony, that after all the wise cracks about BYU's Vegas Bowl trips and how weak that is, the Utes will most likely be heading to Vegas this year.
Truly yesterday was perfect for any true blue Cougar fan.