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BYU Football Stat Breakdown: A look back at the Utah game and preview of Wisconsin

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Utah v BYU Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

Offense:

This week, the offensive stats show progress in a counterintuitive way. The receivers dropped passes; 3 to be exact, with 2 more passes bouncing off of hands, only to be immediately separated by hits. These are the first dropped passes of the season. The reason this is cause for celebration is that it shows improvement from Mangum. More passes were on target and catchable instead of at the feet of receivers. Mangum was also slightly more efficient this week when compared to last week, but not enough to really say that there was improvement.

Ula Toluta’u turned in one the best performance by a running back we’ve seen this season, after Squally Canada’s against Portland State. Toluta’u was the team’s leading rusher, despite only touching the ball 5 times. The running game was still lackluster, only amassing 63 yards (a 68 yard improvement from a week ago) and averaging only 2.6 yards per carry. This does improve to 87 yards (3.63 average) if you remove the losses from sacks.

Perhaps the most disheartening aspect of the low rushing totals is that, outside of sacks, BYU has not run a play to result in a loss of yardage. That means there have just been a lot of carries for little to no gain.

Defense:

This was BYU’s worst tackling performance of the year so far, missing 9.5% of all attempted tackles. For the 2nd consecutive game, the Cougars were unable to sack the quarterback and were only credited with one quarterback hurry. The defense did force 3 fumbles, however, recovering two. With the struggles on offense, the team needs the defense to continue to force turnovers in order to get short fields and additional rest for the defense.

Other:

Trinnamann returned a kick 46 yards, showing his explosive speed; he was a shoestring tackle away from scoring. The team also committed only four penalties for 35 yards. However, one of those also took a touchdown away, which would prove to be extremely important.

This was the Cougars’ best performance on 3rd down this year on both offense and defense (that’s right — Portland State converted a higher percentage of 3rd downs, and stopped more of BYU’s attempts than Utah did. How’s that for a moral victory.).

Number of the Week: 1

1 score game, the 19th such game in the past 25 years BYU and Utah have played

1 BYU touchdown taken off the board by an offensive pass interference.

1 Utah touchdown taken away by an offensive pass interference.

1 second left before halftime by the clock operator, allowing for a Utah field goal. I thought this was a home game

1 moment the whole stadium thought we would win, only to have that hope ripped away 4 plays later.

A Look Ahead: Wisconsin:

41% of Wisconsin’s catches are by TE Troy Fumagalli. No other receiver has more than 15%.

Wisconsin’s offense is extremely high powered. 6 out of 10 rushers average more than 5 yards per carry and 8 out of 10 receivers average at least 10 yards per catch. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook averages 8.73 yards per attempt (half a yard less than Mangum averages per completion!), and leading rusher Jonathan Taylor averages 8.9 yards per carry. The offensive leaders average almost a first down per touch. BYU’s defense will be the best Wisconsin has faced so far (Utah State and Florida Atlantic), but their offense will be hard to stop.