BYU WON, AND PLAYED WELL DOING IT. Which means there are many good, heartwarming stats to look at.
Here are the biggest statistical takeaways from BYU’s season opener.
“They Can’t Contain Tate”
After hearing all offseason (and pregame, and throughout the game) that Khalil Tate is a Heisman candidate and BYU wouldn’t be able to stop him, BYU’s defense must have missed the memo.
After averaging 9.2 yards per carry last year (best in the nation), Tate was held to only 1.8 yards per carry. Corbin Kaufusi and Sione Takitaki did a great job containing Tate.
The secondary also stepped up majorly from last year. BYU’s defense allowed 65.8% pass completions and 7.6 yards per attempt in 2017. Against the Wildcats, the defense only allowed 5.79 yards per attempt on 50% completion. If that holds, moving the ball against BYU will be hard.
Squally Canada, after getting his Soundcloud plugged on national television and his lyrics and street cred analyzed by ESPN sportscasters, showed everyone why we were excited when he transferred from Washington State. Canada went off for 3 touchdowns on 4.1 yards per carry average. A lot of credit goes to the offensive line for manhandling the front seven of Arizona, but Squally consistently made the right cuts and fought hard for extra yards. And not only did Canada run all over Arizona, but with his last carry for the last play of the game, he poetically barely crossed the 50-yard line, symbolically defeating all memory of last year’s offense.
Overall, the Cougars average 4.3 yards per carry. This was better than half of the games last year. Only in the games against the vaunted defenses of Hawaii, San Jose State, Fresno State, UNLV, USU and Portland State did BYU run for a better average.
Admittedly, I am not the biggest Tanner Mangum fan, and his almost-sidearm throwing motion and his discomfort in the pocket still make me uneasy. Watching the first half, I felt completely justified. Mangum’s stat line from the first half: 6/13, 72 yards, 92.67 rating, 5.5 YPA. That’s worse than the quarterback committee of last year. Yikes.
But then, beautiful halftime adjustments happened. In the second half, Mangum posted an extremely good line of 12/15, 137 yards 178.72 rating, 9.13 YPA. The yards won’t jump off the page or attract any Heisman attention, but Mangum did exactly what was needed.
The Game in One Stat
Even though Arizona stormed back in the 4th quarter to make us all a lot more uncomfortable than we were in the 3rd quarter, the time of possession shows how dominant BYU was in the 2nd half:
BYU: 22:34 Arizona: 7:26
Random Physics Note of the Game
On the late hit, how did Tate end up about 5 yards away from a towering Corbin Kaufusi? Kaufusi is literally 27.5% more massive than Tate. Combining the difference in size with the fact that Tate was decelerating much faster than Kaufusi was, Khalil didn’t stand a chance at staying up without Kaufusi holding him up. Or not hitting him after he went out of bounds.
Corbin Kaufusi: 125kg/275lbs Khalil Tate: 98kg/215lbs
Overall, good statistical game for BYU. Here’s to another happy stat breakdown next week after Cal.