"It won't be a problem, its only UCONN." -- You probably
"Part of why we lost to Virginia is because Cody Hoffman didn't play." -- You probably
Jamaal Williams is the 2nd most valuable asset on the BYU team. Not having him hurts.
After Jamaal left the game injured with 8:00 left in the 3rd quarter against Utah, BYU running backs rushed 8 times for 18 yards for 2.3 yards per carry. Including a 1 yard plunge by Michael Alisa for 6. They also caught 2 passes for 7 yards. Up to his injury Jamaal had 13 rushes for 52 yards for 4 yards per carry. It is true that BYU was trailing in the second half and was relying on the passing of Taysom Hill. There weren't as many rushes as there possibly would have been otherwise. Regardless, Hill went 6 for 20 passing for 62 yards and an INT. That's 3.1 yards per pass play! Including 3 drive killing targets for Eric Thornton on 3rd or 4th down in the 4th quarter (there was another drive killing target to Thornton in the 2nd Q). Outside of a Taysom Hill run, our 2nd best offensive play was handing off to Jamaal Williams. With 18/48 passing, that's 30 plays where the down and distance don't improve. Jamaal was never tackled for a loss.
Against Houston, Jamaal was again out of the game in the 3rd quarter at the 7:30 mark. BYU running backs went on to gain 37 yards on 12 rushes for 3.1 yards per carry. Taysom Hill went on to play his best stretch of football in his career with 6 rushes for 56 yards and 9 for 13 passing for 136 yards and 2 TDs. 13 points and an Alani Fua INT lead to the razor thin 1 point victory.
The Cougars virtually played another half of football last year without Jamaal Williams. Against Nevada in the 1st half, Jamaal only had 3 rush attempts. The offense floundered. 5 first downs in the half. 9 penalties. Taysom Hill went 7 for 10 for 55 yards. Longest pass was to Paul Lasike for 12 yards. 17 rushes for Hill in that half for 68 yards at 4 yards per carry. All of this against Nevada's 88th ranked pass defense and 124th ranked run defense (only New Mexico State was worse).
If you recall, BYU trailed 7-0 after that, thanks to a blocked FG and an INT in the end zone. Had those big plays not been made, it would have been 17-0 Wolfpack. In the second half, Jamaal ran 12 times for 188 yards and a TD. The Cougars eked out a 5 point road win.
Jamaal matters. He's critical. Without him, there is no way BYU would have finished 10th best in rushing offense last year.
Jamaal was tacit in BYU's status as a -16 1/2 point favorite against UCONN. UCONN's national ranking in pass defense was 89th last season. But did you realized that UCONN's 2013 national ranking in run defense was 23rd? It should be mentioned, however, that the Huskies didn't face a rush offense that ranked higher than 67th nationally last season. With that in mind, its still worth noting that they were at least competent against the run last year. For reference, BYU went 2-2 against teams in the top 40 nationally in run defense (Utah, Utah State, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech) running for 173.5 rush yards per game in those 4 contests. BYU's averaged 267.4 rushing yards per game last year.
"But you know she is kind of used to being with me, right? So... It would sort of be like going from prime rib to--I don't know--weird brother of prime rib."
-- Gob Bluth when asked by brother, Buster, if it was okay if he could date his ex-girlfriend on Arrested Development episode Beef Consommé
The backup running backs aren't Jamaal Williams. Williams is a special player. He's a game breaker. Your grandkids are going to ask you about watching him play. You will remember him dominating as a 17-year-old. You will remember the dance videos before games and how if he wants 2 more yards, he will get it somehow, someway. Jamaal is both thunder and lightning in one package. Due to his abilities, Williams has positioned himself, after his first two seasons, to break almost every rushing record at BYU. The only record in doubt for Jamaal is the Luke Staley's career 41 TDs. He is a thoroughbred. Barring injury, Jamaal Williams will place himself firmly in the best ever debate.
Jamaal is the most reliable player for their position within the BYU offense. He possesses the extremely rare distinction of being consistent, steady, and predictable while still being dynamic and flashy without sacrificing toughness.
Beyond that, Jamaal doesn't turn the ball over! He has had 383 carries in his BYU career and he has never had a fumble lost! That's astonishing! That's a tremendous asset, one that could be sorely missed at UCONN.
Fans can be flippant all they want about UCONN. I don't agree with the attitude, but I get it. They aren't a storied or strong program. Fine.
Just stop being disrespectful to Jamaal Williams. BYU is a vastly worse team without him.