BYU football vs. Georgia Tech: How the Cougars match up against the Yellow Jackets
Cougar question mark
Can BYU mount an effective intermediate and long passing threat? BYU used a dink-and-dunk passing attack against the Irish, but that may not be enough to keep up with a Georgia Tech offense that averages just short of 500 yards per game and 37.7 points.
“Other teams have seen success against their defense, but we can’t take them for granted,” said Friel. “We need to find holes in their zone, and we all need to be better prepared and just play better than we did last week — especially me.”
BYU didn’t lack opportunities down the field last week against the Irish so much as it was unable to cash in those opportunities. Look for Nelson to right a lot of what went wrong last week and approach 300 yards passing and account for his best game of the year against a rather porous Georgia Tech pass defense.
BYU rush defense vs. Georgia Tech
The BYU rush defense has been good all year but was somewhat exposed last week against Notre Dame. The Irish were able to run for 270 yards, which presents some cause for concern in defending against a very good Georgia Tech rushing attack.
The Yellowjackets present a triple-option offense that has averaged 339.6 yards per game this season. Quarterback Tevin Washington (6-0, 205) is the team’s leading rusher and averages 67.3 yards per game.
There is no primary running back for Georgia Tech, and it’ll rotate rushing opportunities between five rushers who have gained over 170 yards this season — three of whom average more than seven yards per carry.
It’s a big and physical offensive front that will present a lot of challenges.
“They’re like Air Force with how they run their offense, but their linemen are a lot bigger,” noted defensive end Russell Tialavea. “They’re quick like an Air Force lineman, but they’re a lot more physical, so it’s going to be a huge challenge for us.”
Cougar question mark
The BYU defensive front is a bit thin after the losses of Eathyn Manumaleuna and Ian Dulan. This lack of depth was somewhat exposed last week against Notre Dame as the line wore down in the second half. Will a thin BYU defensive front be able to withstand the constant barrage of runs Georgia Tech throws its way?
“We have to play very sound and we’ll be okay,” said Tialavea. “We’re going to have to be more physical this game because they’re big upfront. It’s going to be a fun game, and we love this type of a challenge.”
BYU was gashed by the last triple-option team it faced with Air Force running all over it back in 2010. That game was largely an aberration, however, and coach Bronco Mendenhall was quick this week to point out that he didn’t coordinate that defensive effort — Jaime Hill did.
Mendenhall historically has done well against an option attack, and look for BYU to hold Georgia Tech under its season averages as a result. Depth is a huge concern, and the Yellowjackets should be able to wear down the Cougar front and account for good yardage in the second half.
BYU pass defense vs. Georgia Tech
BYU’s pass defense was very good last week against Notre Dame but wasn't tested all that much after showing some weakness the week before against Oregon State. BYU gave up just 117 yards through the air last week but will likely receive a unique test this week against Georgia Tech.
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