“They’re sort of like Idaho State (University) offensive, but they’re better and more capable,” said BYU safety Travis Uale. “They’ll use multiple receiver sets and try and spread the field.”
New Mexico State is a team that can beat a team offensively and look to be much more potent offensively than it is defensively. While the Aggies are generally a pass-first offense, they will run it, averaging 122 yards per game on the ground.
“It’s all about stopping the run first,” said Uale. “Yes, they like to spread the field, but that doesn’t mean they’re always passing. You always have to stop the run first, and that will be our focus this week.”
New Mexico State’s top running back is junior Kenny Turner, 5-foot-10, 184 pounds, who averages 79.9 yards per game on an impressive 5.0 yards per carry average. On film he shows good speed with the ability to beat a defense on the edges.
Their second-leading rusher is quarterback Matt Christian (6-3, 223). On the year he averages 37.1 yards per game on a 3.9 yards per carry average.
BYU’s 2-4-5 defensive alignment was very effective last week against Idaho, and should prove effective again this week. With converted safety Joe Sampson playing more like a linebacker than a safety, they should do well in limiting New Mexico State on the ground and hold them below their season average on the ground.
BYU pass defense vs. New Mexico State
As good as the Cougars were in defending the run last week, they were better in defending the pass. Granted that Idaho didn’t have much in regards to a passing attack, but they were dominant nonetheless.
This week, they’ll be facing a much more potent passing game. The Aggies average 302.1 yards per game through the air and a very impressive 15.2 yards per catch.
“They have some guys that can beat you down the field for sure,” said Uale. “No. 1 (Taveon Rogers, 6-0, 180, senior) on offense is really good from what I’ve seen on film. They like to throw it to him a lot and he can get down the field. He’s not the only one-they like to throw it around to a lot of guys.”
One of the players they like to throw to a lot is Turner out of the backfield. Turner is the second-leading receiver on the team.
“They have a lot of different weapons, more than the teams we’ve faced recently,” said Uale. “We’ll have to be watching for everything because they’ll throw a lot different stuff at us. They’ll be a good challenge.
The 2-4-5 nickel formation worked like a charm last week and though it wasn’t exactly the type of defense needed to defend Idaho, it appears to be exactly the type of defense the Cougars will want in defending the Aggies. Given the success of the formation and the defense overall last week, fans can expect the Cougar defense to hold New Mexico State under its average on the year.
Prediction: BYU 45 New Mexico State 21
BYU should jump on New Mexico State early and cruise to an easy victory. Given Bronco Mendenhall’s tendency toward soft coverages when his team has a lead, the Aggies should be able to move the ball late and score some points.
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