Mao Zedong, leader of the Chinese communist revolution, back in the 1940s famously said, "The only real defense is active defense", meaning counter-attacking and going on the offensive. And thus spawning, with that quote, one of the most beloved phrases in the sportscaster lexicon, "The best defense is a good offense." Well, BYU proved that phrase wrong yesterday, winning on the back of their defense. In what can only be described as "frustrating," the Jake Heaps-led offense moved the ball with ease but was unable to capitalize for most of the game.
We break it down, after the jump.
The Offense had some trouble with timely blitzes from Houston Nutt's Ole Miss defense. That, along with what seemed to be some first half jitters caused many drives to stall, resulting in punts and a missed Justin Sorensen field goal. Especially damaging was the pick 6, 96 yards no less, that Jake threw to Ole Miss's Charles Sawyer that stopped a would-be BYU touchdown and created a 14 point swing in Ole Miss's favor. Time and time again, the Offense was bailed out by a tenacious defense that had one responsibility, STOP. THE. RUN. and stop the run they did.
The Defense (Ole Miss offensive stats)
Bronco Mendenhall's defense held Ole Miss to just 64 yards rushing. When pinned against great field position, the defense held strong and allowed just two field goals. The linebackers are so obviously the strength of this defense and were all over the place on Saturday making tackles.
MVP of the game: Kyle Van Noy (LB)
He, along with Jordan Pendelton, created so much havoc for the Ole Miss RB's and QB's coming off the edge in Bronco's 3-4 defense. Ultimately, his forced fumble and recovery of said fumble in the end zone for a TD, won the game for the Cougars.
Overall Reaction: This was not offense Cougar Nation was expecting. With all the weapons we have, let's hope this one can be chalked up to "first game syndrome", that Brandon Doman will let go of his inner Robert Anae, that Jake Heaps will embrace his inner Ty Detmer (that is mutually-exclusive from Jordan Wynn's inner Ty Detmer, which is just Jordan Wynn) and the offense can get rolling in the Lonestar State next weekend. Whatever happens, this defense will keep BYU in EVERY SINGLE GAME this year if it plays the way it did on Saturday.