For the past two weeks, I've outlined some things I hope to see from the offense. Here's last week's list:
More productive passing game. This actually came true. The now-injured Taysom Hill was 24-for-36 for 235 yards, his best passing game of his very short career. Still only 6.5 YPA, which was the best number since Weber State in Week 2.
A second receiving threat. Cody Hoffman was very good as expected, and TE Keneakua Friel added 5 catches for 53 yards. Still, no one is really stepping up as Robin to Hoffman's Batman.
Good offensive line play against a good defense. Hill was not sacked once, but the rushing attack had less than 4 YPC. Still, it was a decent effort, and Hill and Jamaal Williams averaged 4.2 YPC in their 36 carries.
Here are three things we need to see this week if the Cougars are going to beat the (over) ranked Oregon State Beavers:
More passing. Oregon State is 4th in the country in rushing defense and only allow ballcarriers 3.1 YPC. Which is pretty good (though BYU allows less than 2 YPC!). Running opportunities are going to be hard unless the Cougars open up the passing game. BYU has averaged 35 pass plays per game, and it will need to be closer to 45 pass plays to ensure success. Side benefit: less rushing attempts may help keep Riley Nelson healthy.
Trickery and variety. I think Brandon Doman needs channel a little Boise State or LSU. I think a reverse or other misdirection plays are necessary to keep the Beaver defense from keying on certain plays out of certain formations. And would it kill the man to call an actual screen pass to a RB? Those are still legal.
Third down efficiency. Last week the Cougars were 9-for-20 on 3rd down. That's not good. For the year, BYU has converted less than 44% of its 3rd downs, which is good for 48th in the country. And I hope Doman realizes that you can call something besides a QB draw on a 3rd down.
I do believe BYU's defense will lead the Cougars to victory on Saturday, but the offense needs to do its part, and by that I mean scoring more than one touchdown. If they can pass more (and effectively), add some variety to the play calling, and be better on 3rd downs, then my prediction of 17-10 should be doable.