Even after a good offensive effort against a bad Hawai'i team, the unit still has a lot to prove. Here are three things we need to see from them against Utah State.
Last week, I outlined four things I hoped we'd see from the BYU offense. Here is that list and my take on whether we saw it or not.
- Shuffle the offensive line. Yes we did. Famika Anae was awesome, nasty some might say.
- No options to the short side of the field. Thank goodness we saw none of this.
- More creative formations. Not really, but probably too much to ask with a freshman QB.
- More Jamaal Williams. He ran extremely well, but seeing him more because of an injury to Michael Alisa is not good.
So here are three things I hope to see the offense do against Utah State, which may be the best defense BYU has played against this season.
More productive passing game. I know BYU fandom has fallen deep in love with Taysom Hill (and I'm a big fan), but let's be realistic. He is an awesome runner, and he was great in that capacity against Hawai'i. But he was pretty pedestrian as a thrower: 12-for-21, 112 yards, 2 TDs and an INT. Factor in the four sacks, and on his 25 plays, the Cougars had less than 100 net yards in the passing game. The BYU passing attack has been suspect all season, with only two above-average performances: Washington State and Weber State. The Cougs will likely need 350-400 total yards in offense tonight, and I think 200-250 of those will need to come through the passing game.
A second receiving threat.
This is related to the first one. Besides Cody Hoffman, who can the BYU QBs count on? Kaneakua Friel was very good against Washington State, but has disappeared a little bit. Ross Apo
has just 8 catches for 63 yards, and hasn't had a 5-catch game in almost a year. Yes, the QB play has been erratic the last several games, but somebody besides Hoffman must emerge to take pressure off the star receiver and to help out the QB.
Good offensive line play against a good defense. According to Football Outsiders, Utah State has the 18th best defense in FBS. This is not your uncle's Aggies. This unit will play well, and if the offensive line from Hawai'i shows up, the Cougars will put up good numbers. If they regress and play like they did against Weber-Utah-Boise, then the defense may need to not only stop the Aggies, but also score the points.
The BYU defense is awesome, and they've held opponents to less than 270 total yards in each of the five games. I think they will similarly stifling tonight, so the offense needs to generate 350 yards to win comfortably. They are certainly capable of that, especially if they do the three things mentioned above.