BYU football: Cougars must focus on reducing turnovers

Published: Friday, Oct. 9 2015 1:32 a.m. MDT

PROVO — There's at least one stat to keep an eye on when BYU entertains Colorado State on Saturday.


The two teams have gone opposite directions in that area so far this season.

Through their first three games, the Cougars have had 10 turnovers while the Rams have given the ball away only three times. CSU has 10 takeaways and is tied for No. 2 nationally in turnover margin. BYU, with six takeaways, is tied for No. 104.

The Cougars committed five turnovers, including three interceptions, in their 54-28 setback to Florida State last Saturday. The Seminoles had zero turnovers against BYU.

"They've already had a bunch of takeaways this year," said Cougar quarterback Max Hall said of the Rams. "They've caused a bunch of turnovers against teams they've played ... We've got to hang on to the football."

Of course, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall is keenly aware of the role turnovers play in a given outcome.

"In any game, turnovers are huge. This is no different," he said. "If teams are evenly matched, turnovers a lot of times are the difference in the game ... If they're taking the ball away more than they're giving it up, it's a great chance to win."

TURF IMPROVEMENTS: Mendenhall and defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen expressed concern Monday about how the grass at LaVell Edwards Stadium was torn up during Saturday's game against Florida State. They said it's a concern going into this weekend's contest.

Asked about what is being done about the field condition, the university released a statement to the Deseret News through spokeswoman Carri Jenkins: "The sod on the playing field has been in place for almost five months. We are dealing with the reality that this is a young field. The divots from last Saturday have already been replaced with new sod, and we have treated the field with specialized fertilizer and soil treatments, as well as top dressed with sand, to minimize any tearing."

JOHNSON TO PLAY SATURDAY: BYU senior safety Scott Johnson has passed protocol and was cleared to play against CSU.

Johnson suffered a concussion against Tulane and was sidelined for the FSU game.

"It's exciting. Practice yesterday was like being a little kid, running around and having fun," Johnson said. "It's good to be back out here. It's good to realize that you can't take it for granted."

EXTRA POINTS: Linebacker Matt Bauman (knee sprain) is expected to return to practice today ... Freshman Riley Stephenson will continue to handle kickoffs for BYU, having won the job from Mitch Payne.

e-mail: jeffc@desnews.com

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