We have all seen the age old football adage that "football is won in the trenches." Whoever wins the battle upfront will have a better chance of moving the ball, or stopping the forward progress of their opponent, thus increases the chances of winning the game. So, is this a place where BYU has an advantage?
If you look strictly at the depth charts, it certainly looks like an area that BYU can win. Here is the two-deep rosters set as matchups:
|Left Tackle||Stud Rush|
|Andre Eide 6'5" 301||DeAndre Miller 6'3" 236|
|JJ Nwigwe 6'5" 278||John Kenney 6'1" 234|
|Kenyan Norman 6'3" 278||Sani Fuimaono 6'1" 271|
|Jacob Jimenez 6'5" 292||Jacob Jimenez 6'5" 292|
|Tejan Koroma 6'0" 290||Parker Zellers 6'1" 247|
|Quin Ficklin 6'3" 280||Aiula Fanene 6'5" 308|
|Parker Dawe 6'3" 307||Justin Belknap 6'2" 247|
|Tuni Kanuch 6'3" 335||Jack Banda 6'3" 247|
|Ului Lapuaho 6'7" 335|
|Austin Hoyt 6'8" 295|
Simply put, BYU has a significant size advantage up front.
Arizona plays a 3-4 defense with their linebackers being obviously smaller. The Mike linebackers weigh in at 248 and 236 pounds, the Will backers are 227 and 230, and the Spur backers are 206 and 197 pounds respectively. BYU running a pro-style offense should exploit these matchups even more as the run vs. pass ratio is usually fairly even. We saw in the spring game that BYU will be lining up with tight ends and full backs which allows for even more blockers.
With a BYU offense featuring Jamaal Williams and Taysom Hill, the offense could cause some problems for the smaller sized Arizona defense as both are bruising runners. This will become even more important to BYU because if the Cougars can play at a deliberate pace and rack up rushing yards to run the clock, they'll take away possessions from Arizona's potent spread offense.
Additionally, if BYU is scoring by winning the battles up front, the pressure will be on Arizona to match and this could lead to mistakes especially late in the game.
Hopefully this provides an opportunity for BYU to capitalize and keep Arizona off the field. We will find out on Saturday.