PROVO — Brigham Young corrected some early issues of a soft pass defense and a few silly penalties to roll over Idaho State, 56-3, on Saturday.
Five keys to BYU’s victory:
The Cougars’ opponent
In all honesty, anything short of a blowout win would have been a disappointment for BYU. That takes nothing away from the Cougars, who took care of the business in front of them. It also is not a slight on Idaho State, who, as a FCS school, can offer only 63 scholarships to players as compared with 85 scholarships offered by FBS schools.
BYU running game
The Cougars once again emphasized their ground game in finishing with 287 yards on 44 carries from nine different players. Michael Alisa, Riley Nelson, JJ DiLuigi and Josh Quezada all got touchdowns on the ground, while Nelson, Alisa and Quezada all had at least 60 yards, with DiLuigi finishing with 42 yards.
After giving up some early yards to the Bengals’ almost-exclusive offensive passing attack, BYU was able to pin its collective ears back and rush the quarterback. The result was some big performances from BYU’s defense. Kyle Van Noy had an embarrassing late hit that knocked ISU’s punter from the game, but apologized directly to Bengals head coach Mike Kramer. Van Noy also got a blocked punt and recovery, a sack and a tipped pass, in addition to generally harassing the Bengals quarterbacks. As a group, the Cougars allowed no touchdowns and just 231 passing yards despite 60 attempts while racking up six sacks and three interceptions, including a 30-yard touchdown by Daniel Sorensen.
Cougars offensive efficiency
While building their big lead in the first half, the Cougars used virtually every offensive possession – and play – to their advantage. BYU scored touchdowns on four-of-five drives before halftime, racking up 318 yards on just 34 total plays. For the game, BYU’s yard total was 569.
Credit is due the Cougars’ coaching staff for recognizing its opponent and tailoring the game plan accordingly. Focusing on the running game offensively and optimizing opportunities to make defensive plays helped give the players the best chance for success. Also, the reserves entered the game at the right time, decreasing chances for costly injuries to starters.
Chris, who has been covering sports ranging from high school preps to professional teams for almost twenty years, feels that football season is the best time of the year. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.