Almost a year later, BYU's 13-10 win at Arizona State remains an anomaly. How did two offensive-minded teams wind up in a defensive battle? And now, as the teams prepare to meet again, can it be replicated?
"I'm not sure," BYU quarterback Kevin Feterik said. "I really don't know what to expect. Last year was supposed to be a shootout, but it didn't turn out that way."No it didn't. The Cougars prevailed by getting downright defensive - limiting ASU to just 12 first downs while keeping highly touted quarterback Ryan Kealy and running back J.R. Redmond in check.
The secret to success, said BYU coach LaVell Edwards, was limiting turnovers and big plays.
"When you play teams like (ASU) that have tremendous firepower and tremendous speed, those are things you like to avoid," Edwards said. "We did that last year. We prevented it, hung in there and had a tremendous low-scoring game."
Defensively, the Cougars held Redmond to 66 yards on 13 carries. And ASU's passing game didn't fare much better. Kealy completed just 12 of 29 passes for 153 yards and no touchdowns.
"It was a great defensive effort," Edwards said. "But we also did a nice job offensively."
Indeed. BYU racked up 427 yards of total offense in Feterik's debut as starting quarterback. Feterik, who completed 17 of 30 passes for 328 yards in Tempe, said his team's ability to convert broken plays into big yardage made a huge difference. And it didn't hurt that running back Brian McKenzie netted 112 yards rushing to open up BYU's passing game.
"We feel we can move the ball on them, and hopefully that's what we'll do again," Feterik said. "I think our offense needs to start fast, and then our defense will come along. We've got to jump on them early."
And often, if last week's games are any indication. Both teams exhibited offensive firepower in season-opening setbacks. BYU over-came a 17-point deficit before falling to Alabama 38-31, while Arizona State fell to Washington 42-38.
"Going in you'd think this will be a high-scoring game," Feterik said.
"But you just never know what's going to happen."
BYU middle linebacker Rob Mor-ris, however, begs to differ. He believes the Cougars match up extremely well with the Sun Devils.
"I'm going to go out on a limb and say this will be a low-scoring game somewhat similar to last year," Morris said. "I think it's going to come down to the end of the game. I think whoever doesn't turn the ball over and keeps the penalties down will win."
GAME NOTES: Tickets for BYU's home opener were still available as of Friday afternoon . . . Edwards can take sole possession of eighth-place on the all-time Division 1 coaching list with a win. He is currently tied with former Michigan coach Bo Schembechler at 234 victories . . . ESPN2 is broadcasting the game. TCI has made arrangements for cable TV subscribers along the Wasatch Front to view it . . . Former North Sanpete all-stater Junior Ioane is an ASU lineman. He played at Snow College with several current BYU players.