Over the weekend, Taysom Hill led BYU to a 40-21 win over Texas and a record setting performance on the ground. Hill added 259 yards and 3 touchdowns on 17 carries to the Cougars' team record 550 yards rushing including an impressive 68-yard touchdown run.
Taysom Hill touchdowns against Texas (via KSL5Sports)
The 6'2" 221-pound sophomore quarterback flashed his elite running ability last season when he went for 143 yards on the ground against Hawaii last season, which fittingly was also highlighted by a 68-yard touchdown run. At the time, many chalked up Hill's dominant performance to the inferior level of competition. Due to a season-ending knee injury last year, Hill hasn't had a lot of opportunity to prove himself since.
In the season opening loss to Virginia, Hill's performance was less than impressive. He looked tentative to run the ball and only completed 13 of 40 passes in a disappointing loss to the Wahoos.
After the debacle in Virginia, the game versus the Longhorns presented an opportunity for Hill. No one was giving the BYU offense any chance against an elite level program that had the kind of speed and athleticism Texas had. The setting was perfect for Hill and the Cougars' to shock college football and that is exactly what they did.
Hill put together a performance that even the majority of run-first quarterbacks could only dream of. In the last ten years, the only FBS quarterback to run for more yards in a single game was former Texas Longhorn, Vince Young. Other quarterbacks who have come close to Hill's numbers include former Michigan Wolverine, Denard Robinson, and former West Virginia Mountaineer, Pat White.
Yet even after Hill's unforgettable night against Texas the doubters remain. The focus of their attacks now on Hill's inefficiency as a passer this season.
Admittedly, Hill's passing numbers have been poor and his accuracy needs to improve. However, the argument that he cannot lead the Cougars to victories with his legs is flawed.
Elite rushing teams do win games and with two players among the top five rushers in the nation after two games against BCS AQ conference teams that is exactly where BYU is headed. Add into that mix the Cougars elite level defense and BYU has a recipe for success.
That's not to say BYU will scrap its passing game anytime soon. The passing game is definitely a work in progress, but the Cougars still have one of the top wide receivers in the country in Cody Hoffman for Hill to throw to. Hoffman is in a position to break most of the school's career receiving records despite erratic quarterback play throughout his time at BYU.
Hoffman missed the Virginia game due to injury and was only targeted 4 times against Texas. The Cougars didn't have a lot of reason to push the passing game against the Longhorns given they averaged 7.6 yards per carry on the ground. Expect the coaching staff to push for Hill to get Hoffman more involved in the offense in the coming weeks, especially now that all of our future opponents have seen that BYU can run and will surely be defending against it.
While Hill got off to a rough start passing in 2013, he has shown in the past that he has the ability to be a good passer. As a freshman he played in six games for the Cougars completing nearly 60 percent of his passes. Expect his accuracy to improve over the next several weeks as he gets more comfortable in the new offense and with the new offensive line group.
Hill is the man for the job under center in Provo. Doubt him all you want, but the sophomore quarterback will be a headache for defensive coordinators all season long as he leads the BYU offense to success.