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BYU Football POWER RANKINGS WEEK 7: Buckin’ the Broncos

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NCAA Football: Boise State at Brigham Young Gabe Mayberry-USA TODAY Sports

Of course it was going to happen.

Of course, after dropping two games against teams that look to be quite bad, BYU comes back and beats a ranked opponent on their home field. Of course they were able to do it with a third string quarterback, third string running back and a true freshman starting his first ever college game at right tackle. And of course they had to do it against Boise State, a team that has been a thorn in Kalani Sitake’s side ever since he took the job.

The natural reaction to this victory is to enjoy exactly five seconds of happiness and then go back to being upset with the fact that a team capable of beating the likes of Boise State had only seven days prior dropped their pants against South Florida. You’ll find yourself saying “IF ONLY” and “WHY COULDN’T WE HAVE” over and over until a friend or loved one asks to please stop scaring the children.

The second-guessing and finger-pointing will come easy, but if you want to survive the rest of the season the key is to embrace the win and look forward. I found myself in this exact situation in the 2016 season when we lost those impossibly close games against Utah, Boise State, West Virginia and UCLA. Instead of enjoying fun wins over Michigan State and Mississippi State I kept looking back.

Make no mistake, I will continue to scrutinize and be critical of what this football team and will do the rest of this season, but I’ve realized that for my own sanity I’m not going to get angry over a team that is clearly unexplainable. Could they win every game on the rest of their schedule? Yes! Could they also lose badly to Utah State and SDSU? Based on what I’ve seen, anything is possible.

Until we see any form of consistency from this team I’m just going to hope for the best and still let out a few mild swears along the way.

That said, let’s get to the POWER RANKINGS.

WEEK 7 POWER RANKINGS

10) Isaiah Kaufusi

Only seven games into the season and BYU has already matched their interception total from last year. Credit goes to the coaches for mixing up coverages and for the players making some great catches. Isaiah had on such pick on Saturday where he made a diving catch, very similar to the one that Payton Wilgar made earlier this year. Kaufusi didn’t rack up the tackles like he did in past weeks but he still found a way to make plays.

9) Jackson Kaufusi

While Jackson’s interception was much less acrobatic than Isaiah’s it was still an important turnover as it led directly to points two plays later. This was clearly a bad pass from Boise State quarterback Chase Cord. but even then it’s not that easy to make the catch. There were a couple of other instances this year (even in this game) where opposing QBs have lofted bad passes over the middle but the linebacker or defensive back wasn’t able to come up with the INT. It might look easy on TV but it’s a lot harder than we think.

8) Lopini Katoa

I’d imagine it was hard for Lopini Katoa hear the coaches talk all offseason how they wanted to upgrade the running back position with some graduate transfers. It wasn’t ever any slight to Lopini because you need depth at running back because injuries, as we’ve seen, are inevitable at the position. Still, after a decent showing in the 2018 season Lopini went back down to third on the depth chart. Now he’s back in a featured role and he’s making the most of it. He didn’t have the big chunk plays on Saturday but he did fight hard for extra yards and was able to come up with a key red zone score on the first drive. I’m glad we have guys like him in our backfield.

7) Talon Shumway

During fall camp BYU mic’d up a few players including Zach Wilson. Most of what was captured was typical practice speak like “let’s go” and “alright fellas we got this” but towards the end he dropped a nugget of wisdom saying “when in doubt, throw it up to Talon Shumway.” It looks like Zach was nice enough to share this wisdom with Baylor Romney.

6) D’Angelo Mandell

While a lot of the other players on defense are rightfully getting credit for the win on Saturday, I think we need to make sure we include D’Angelo Mandell. Along with Isaiah Herron, the cornerbacks roamed the secondary to limit the big plays for the Broncos. D’Angelo made two big plays specifically, one which was where he flew up the field on a screen pass to make a great tackle in the backfield. He also had another pass deflection that prevented a big chunk play. The defensive backfield will be losing a lot of players next year to graduation, but it’s good to know that we have some talented players in Mandell and Herron.

5) Bracken El-Bakri

This spot on the rankings could have gone to any of the starting defensive linemen, but I really liked the way that Bracken played this week. There were a couple of plays in particular where you could see him giving an extra effort and it definitely made a difference. The defensive line as a whole did much better against the run and you can see that in the total tackle numbers. In regards to their overall play you could see that they did a good job of maintaining their ground as opposed to trying to get too far upfield on running downs. When BYU was giving up big chunks of yardage on the ground it looked like teams were able to create gaps and running lanes by allowing Khyris, Zo and Bracken to work their way upfield. Hopefully they can build on the success of this week and bring the same discipline against Utah State.

4) Matt Bushman

Why is Matt Bushman constantly praised as one of the most talented players on this team? He’s not going to break a lot of tackles or run by a lot of defenders after catching the ball but he does a masterful job of getting open with amazing moves and route running that we saw on the fourth down conversion in the 3rd quarter. He does a good job selling run and then pulls a perfect swim move that would make the defensive lineman proud.

3) Sione Finau

He doesn’t look like he packs a whole lot of punch but Sione Finau runs like he is very upset. Not only that but he has great vision and as seen in the highlight below he can make moves in the open field to break a nice run into a very long one. More reps will be coming his way in the coming weeks and it will be a delight to see what he can do with them.

2) Baylor Romney

Not enough can be said of Baylor who came in prepared like a seasoned veteran. On the first drive he faced quite a bit of pressure but was able to make some great throws to respond with a touchdown after Boise started the game with one of their own. There were a couple of missed reads and under-throws but that’s what you’ll see from any of the quarterbacks on this roster. He also was able to make plays without forcing the issue. Too often back-up quarterbacks play it too safe, trying not to make any mistakes, and others get a little too wild. Baylor looked poised and never let the moment get to him.

A bye this week means that everyone will be curious as to which quarterback will be getting the start against Utah State. If Jaren Hall is healthy he should get the nod but either way we can take comfort in the fact that we have a competent player in Baylor to back him up.

1) Dayan Ghanwoloku

There are many players that missed last week’s game vs South Florida but the absence of Dayan was probably the most impactful. Very few players on this roster are as versatile and having him back this week paid dividends. I loved that the defensive staff moved him back to safety and got him involved in multiple blitz packages, allowing him to make plays in the run game. The defense softened up at the end of the fourth quarter as they went into prevent mode but when they looked much better when they were in attack mode with #5 on the field. This game will be remembered for the flashy offensive highlights but it was won with consistency on defense.

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WELL THAT WAS WEIRD

Everyone wants to keep talking about the Red Jacket Girl but I think our attention needs to be on this bananas halftime entertainment. Here we have two couples, both of which are sporting full wedding attired, competing in a punt-pass-kick competition to win a free wedding dress. I’ve been to my fair share of college football games and plenty of odd-ball minor league baseball games and never have I see anything quite like this. The phrase “only at BYU” gets tossed around quite a bit but I think that it’s quite appropriate here.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

In a world that lacks civility and love it’s good to know that this former Ute can pull for his former coach. If you want a good laugh read some of the replies to this tweet.

FAMILY ALBUM

“Alexa, play Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen.”

JAKE VS JAKE

There is a football player on the team by the name of Jake Oldroyd (I think you guys might know him now) and my first name also happens to be Jake. Each week we’re going to rate the performance of each Jake and decide who had the better week.

Jake did a great job with his punting duties and it could have gone even better if not for a bone-headed penalty that erased what would have been a perfect punt which was downed at the one yard line. Instead Jake had to re-kick and it went about 20 yards shorter. And while Jake did connect on all of his extra points he did miss another field goal from 38 yards. It might have looked like an easy kick but it was going from a hard angle right into the wind. Tough look for our guy.

Now that Jake’s wife is pregnant he is subject to the food cravings that come her way. Of course Jake had every intention of maintaining his good eating habits but once his dear wife starting requesting ice cream, potato chips and mac & cheese for herself, his willpower eroded and her diet has become his diet. They’re only 15 weeks into this thing and Jake’s pants are already feeling tight.

Yes, Jake Oldroyd did miss a field goal but he’ll still be in great shape by the end of the season. ADVANTAGE: Jake Oldroyd

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UP NEXT: Utah State

Just when you thought that BYU had a monopoly on awkward white dudes you remember the existence of Utah State.