PROVO — By beating Boise State for the first time, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall picked up his 80th win. His career record at BYU is now 80-31 (a 72.1 winning percentage). The win over the Broncos also secured BYU’s place in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 27. Under coach Mendenhall, the Cougars have qualified for nine consecutive bowl games.
BYU has an extra week to prepare for a tough road game against No. 24 Wisconsin on Nov. 9. Bronco Mendenhall is no stranger to Badger head coach Gary Andersen. From 2009 to 2012, Andersen was head coach at Utah State. The Aggies and Cougars faced each other during each of those four seasons. Andersen’s Aggies whipped BYU in 2010 by a score of 31-16. The outcome of that game is one factor that influenced Chuckie Keeton’s decision to play for Utah State.
As the Cougars head into the bye week, here are 10 facts and stats about BYU football.
For the second time this season, BYU committed zero turnovers in a game. And since Boise State committed four turnovers against BYU, the Cougars are now +1 in turnover margin. In its passing attack, BYU spread the wealth around to nine different receivers. The Cougars dominated the first half, ending it with a touchdown catch by Cody Hoffman and a 24-3 lead. In the fourth quarter, Boise State trimmed BYU’s lead to two touchdowns, but the Cougars tacked on another field goal to make the final score 37-20.
This season, BYU’s defense has recovered seven fumbles and intercepted eight passes (two of which were pick-sixes). BYU is forcing nearly two turnovers per game. On the flip side, BYU has lost six fumbles and thrown eight interceptions. With challenging road games coming up against Wisconsin and Notre Dame, BYU will need all the help it can get, and forcing turnovers will be an excellent way to create some of that help.
The sophomore quarterback’s record as a starter is now 8-2. He ranks sixth in the nation in total offense (357.5 yards per game), 21st nationally in rushing yards per game (105.1) and 18th in the nation in total rushing yards (841). The Cougars are fortunate to have this talented dual-threat quarterback to lead their offense. A 1,000-yard rushing season this year is certainly a possibility for Hill.
Through eight games this year, senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy has almost filled up the stat sheet for accomplishments on defense. He has 46 total tackles (26 unassisted and 20 assisted), 11 tackles for loss of yardage, four sacks, one pick-six, one safety, six pass breakups, 11 quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery. Regarding Van Noy’s collegiate career accomplishments, the answer to the question “What hasn’t he done?” is just as telling as the answer to the question “What has he done?”
The senior wide receiver is closing in on Austin Collie’s school record of 3,255 career receiving yards. In fact, Hoffman is very close to eclipsing that record. With 3,242 career receiving yards, he needs only 14 more yards to become BYU’s all-time leader in receiving yards. Barring a career-ending injury, Hoffman should have no trouble achieving this record.
Even though he has missed playing time because of a concussion and hip injury, Jamaal Williams is still putting up impressive numbers. For instance, he ranks 22nd nationally (just behind Taysom Hill) in rushing yards per game (104.7) and 30th in the nation in total rushing yards (733). If he can remain healthy, he is on track for a 1,000-yard rushing season.
BYU’s opponents have a combined 53-41 record. Two of BYU’s opponents are already bowl eligible (Houston and Notre Dame), while four opponents need just one more win to qualify for a bowl game (Texas, Georgia Tech, Boise State and Wisconsin). Utah, Middle Tennessee State and Utah State each need two more wins to go bowling.
In its eight games this season, BYU has run a total of 440 rushing plays and 278 passing plays. That means BYU is running the ball 61.3 percent of the time and passing 38.7 percent of the time. The Cougars’ total rushing yards and passing yards are nearly even (2,070 and 2,019 respectively). Although BYU has traditionally been a passing team in recent decades, Cougar fans probably don’t care much if their team chooses to run more than pass — as long as BYU is winning games.
The Cougars have outscored their opponents, 259-170. BYU’s up-tempo offense has run 718 plays (an average of 89.75 plays per game). On average, the Cougars run 19.4 plays for every seven points they score. In contrast, BYU’s opponents have run 628 plays (78.5 plays per game). The Cougars’ opponents are less efficient on offense because they run an average of 25.9 plays for every seven points they score.
Based on the scores of the games it has won and lost this season, BYU lost when it scored fewer than 19 points and won when it scored 31 or more points. Of course, these numbers may or may not apply to or hold true for the outcomes of BYU’s remaining games because all things are not equal (games are not played in a vacuum), strength of schedule differs for each team and the circumstances of each game are unique — to say nothing of other factors such as unforeseen injuries and upsets. These numbers simply provide an indication of the point production BYU tends to need in order to win games this year.