BYU has never started the season 0-2 in the entire Bronco era in his 8 seasons as Head Coach.
Five of the last six BYU losses have come by an average margin of 3.2 points. All these games were within a field goal or TD of winning. Had BYU won these tight ball games, they'd have finished last season 12-1, and been off to a 1-0 start this season. The offense being the elephant in the room as to why that wasn't the case.
BYU's defense keeps them in basically every single game they play. It's the offense that everyone is waiting on. It was the first game back for Anae, first game ever as a coach for Coach Atuaia, and the first game with the fast pace up-tempo offense. BYU has never attempted such a task. There will be a learning curve, but look for some of those mistakes to be ironed out and dealt with heading into today's ball game.
Very Unique Circumstances Against Virginia
In a word: exceptions.
When is the last time BYU had a two hour rain delay? That can ruin the psyche of a team. Especially the visiting team not used to hectic East Coast storms.
The blocked kick, the ball slipped in the punter's hands, that's a rare occurrence, again, relating it to the monsoon-like weather conditions.
Jamaal Williams missed that third-down catch because it slipped through his hands. Weather can be blamed.
BYU only allowed Virginia to score on a 13 yard field due to an interception, a 16 yard field due to a blocked punt , and a 53 yard field goal, which any football can claim, is very, very impressive, not to mention a safety, which is very rare in football as well. Every other drive ended in a punt or turnover.
And because of such unique circumstances which aren't likely to repeat themselves in the manner they did, BYU has reason to hope. Although exceptions tend to happen when you least expect them, the Cougars will be playing in a familiar stadium with all too familiar weather. The Longhorns aren't quite as lucky and the oxygen masks have yet to prove themselves helpful. That's something to hold onto.
BYU's Play Makers
It's hard to look at the positives of BYU's offense against Virginia, but there were some to pick out that aren't too big of a stretch.
Jamaal Williams had a great game, finishing with 144 yards on 33 carries, and averaged 4.4 yards a carry. Any offense in the country would love production like that out of their lead running back. He did, however, miss the pass at the end which would have likely sealed the win for the Cougars, again, weather can be blamed.
J.D. Falslev had a nice game, with a crucial 17 yard punt return, a 24 yard catch, and a 4 yard TD reception all on the same drive to put the Cougars up 7-0 in the 2nd quarter. One of two of BYU's offensive TD's for the ballgame.
Taysom Hill had a terrible game passing going 13-40, but he was responsible for both TD's BYU scored, so because of the points he was responsible for, he's labeled as a play maker, or a point maker at the very least. And points will help us win.
BYU had more first downs, more total yards, more passing yards, more rushing yards, and less turnovers than Virginia. Once again, it's head-scratching to think that with all of that, BYU ended up on the losing end of the stick. BYU's rushing game was it's biggest positive, gaining 187 total yards. Usually when BYU has a great rushing game, they win. Look for BYU's rushing game to be an integral part of their offense today and throughout the season.
Enough can't be said about BYU's defense. Eathyn Manumaleuna and Uani Unga led the team in tackles with 10 a piece, each with a tackle for loss, and Kyle Van Noy had 2.5 tackles for losses with a pass break-up and a QB hurry that led the Virginia QB to throw an interception to Craig Bills.
BYU held Virginia to 2.6 yards per rush, and 3.6 yards per pass, which is exceptional. Virginia punted the ball 13 times, which is an outlandish number, and allowed TD's only on a 13 yard field, and 16 yard field as mentioned earlier.
It's not everyday a team of the caliber of Texas strolls into Provo for Cougar Nation to see. It's the home-opener, expect to see 64,000+ in the stands at today's game.
BYU is 41-8 at home in the Bronco era, which is an 84% win pct.
Don't forget to join in the Cougar Walk approximately 2 and a half hours before the game where the players will greet and show appreciation to the fans as they walk on the east side of the stadium from the north end to the South into the locker room. This is a cool new tradition BYU fans can get excited about, and will lure more fans to show up before the game starts.
The student section, otherwise known as 'the ROC' will all be sitting together, so expect an electric atmosphere in tomorrow's game.
Fans have been notified. If you're attending to the game, wear navy blue.
There are many reasons to be excited about tonight's game, the main reason it being against Texas. Need I say more? But also, because there's reason to hope. Go Cougars!