Scott G Winterton,
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake watches warmups as BYU and USU prepare to play at Maverik Stadium in Logan Utah on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017.

At just after the halfway point, BYU finds itself in a position that nobody guessed they'd be in at 1-6.

While the schedule has no more Power 5 opponents, the Cougars can't take anything for granted given how they've played in the first seven games. Most notably, they need to put together an offense and quickly if they want to finish strong down the stretch.

Here's a quick look at BYU's last six opponents:

Note: All stats and rankings come from as of Wednesday night.

At East Carolina Pirates

Saturday, Oct. 21, 5 p.m., CBS Sports Network

Record: 1-6 (1-3 American Athletic Conference)

Offense stats:

Passing: 286.6 ypg (No. 30) Rushing: 107.3 ypg (No. 117) Scoring: 22.0 ppg (No. 117)

While the Pirates have gained plenty of yards behind Thomas Sirk, this offense isn't exactly a powerhouse either. They're near the bottom in both rushing yards and in scoring, which is great news for BYU. Also, Sirk has thrown eight picks to nine touchdowns, which means there could be opportunities for takeaways on Saturday.

Defensive stats:

Run defense: 272.1 ypg (No. 126) Pass defense: 327.9 (No. 128) Scoring: 50.0 ppg (No. 129)

If BYU can't move the ball against this horrible defense, it's officially time to hit the panic button with full force.

San Jose State Spartans

Saturday, Oct. 28, 1 p.m., ESPN3

Record: 1-7 (0-4 MWC)

Offensive stats:

Passing: 212.3 ypg (No. 76) Rushing: 117.3 ypg (No. 110) Scoring: 16.4 ppg (No. 123)

The Trojans are even worse than East Carolina statistically on offense, but they're not as bad as the Cougars. BYU's defense should be able to stop the run and put pressure on the passing game.

Defensive stats:

Run defense: 278.3 ypg (No. 127) Pass defense: 201.9 (No. 41) Scoring: 41.4 ppg (No. 125)

Somehow, the Trojans are even worse at stopping the run than the Pirates. However, they do have a decent secondary led by Andre Chachere. BYU will hopefully be able to run the ball on San Jose State, because forcing the Cougars to depend on the passing game could be dangerous with Chachere looking for picks.

At Fresno State Bulldogs

Saturday, Nov. 4, TBD

Record: 4-2 (3-0 MWC)

Offensive stats:

Passing: 261.8 ypg (No. 44) Rushing: 167.7 ypg (T-No. 63) Scoring: 33.0 ppg (No. 45)

Fresno State hit rock bottom last season after winning just one game and appears to have rebounded. While the Bulldogs aren't in the Top 25 in rushing or passing offense, there's enough balance here to be dangerous.

Defensive stats:

Run defense: 107.5 ypg (No. 14) Pass defense: 206.3 (No. 49) Scoring: 20.0 ppg (T-No. 20)

This game will probably be the biggest hurdle for BYU to cross in its journal toward bowl eligibility as the Bulldogs have the best defense of the bunch. They are a Top 15 team against the run, and we've seen what happens when the Cougars can't run the ball. BYU has two weeks against bad rush defenses to get ready for this game. If the Cougars can't figure things out by now, there's little chance they'll leave Fresno with their bowl hopes intact.

At UNLV Rebels

Friday, Nov. 10, 8:30 p.m., ESPN2

Record: 2-4 (1-2 MWC)

Offensive stats:

Passing: 171.0 ypg (No. 112) Rushing: 265.7 ypg (No. 12) Scoring: 31.0 ppg (No. 55)

UNLV will run the ball down your throat if given the chance. Quarterback Armani Rogers and RB Lexington Thomas make a potent rushing duo that will test BYU's front seven.

Defensive stats:

Run defense: 245.2 ypg (No. 123) Pass defense: 239.0 ypg (No. 91) Scoring: 33.5 ppg (No. 108)

Even though the Rebels can rack up the rushing yards, they still give up on average only 20.5 yards less than what their offense can churn out.

UMass Minutemen

Saturday, Nov. 18, 1 p.m., BYUtv and ESPN3

Record: 0-6 (Independent)

Offensive stats:

Passing: 305.0 ypg (T-No. 17) Rushing: 107.5 ypg (No. 116) Scoring: 25.7 ppg (No. 84)

While UMass currently holds the worst record for FBS independents, they have something the Cougars clearly do not: a functional passing game. Andrew Ford already has 1,723 yards passing and 12 touchdowns through six games, which is something that has to make BYU green with envy. Still, the rushing attack leaves much to be desired.

Defensive stats:

Rush defense: 197.0 ypg (No. 100) Pass defense: 212.2 ypg (No. 57) Scoring: 32.8 ppg (No. 104)

The Minutemen aren't great at any one thing on defense, but they're not quite as bad as some of the other teams on this list. One of the most telling stats is that UMass has forced only two turnovers all season to this point.

At Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

Saturday, Nov. 25, 8 p.m., CBS Sports Network

Record: 3-4 (1-3 MWC)

Offensive stats:

Passing: 261.0 ypg (No. 45) Rushing: 219.1 ypg (No. 25) Scoring: 28.9 ppg (No. 63)

Hawaii is making strides, but it's not quite back to where they were a decade ago. Dru Brown already has 1,816 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. More impressively, Diocemy Saint Juste has already broken 1,000 yards rushing. However, Hawaii seems to struggle to convert all these yards into points. BYU can't afford to let that happen when it visits the islands.

Defensive stats:

Rush defense: 183.7 ypg (No. 93) Pass defense: 294.7 ypg (No. 124) Scoring: 35.6 ppg (T-111)

Some things don't change, and one of those things is that the Rainbow Warriors don't field an elite defense. That pass defense is downright abysmal. However, so is BYU's passing game. Will the Cougars put thing together enough to take advantage?


BYU has two weeks against bad defenses to try to put things together before the matchup at Fresno State. It must find some sort of functional offense by then or the Bulldogs will likely end any chance at a bowl game.

Lafe Peavler is a sports strategist for the Deseret News and Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.