PROVO — After five games this year, BYU finally has a winning record at 3-2. The Cougars’ homecoming game against Georgia Tech on Oct. 12 marks the sixth game and halfway point of BYU’s regular season. If BYU wins three more games, it will play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 27 against a Pac-12 team.
BYU currently has a 2-1 record against Georgia Tech. Last year, the Cougars pummeled the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta, 41-17. The last time Georgia Tech visited Provo (2003), BYU won the contest, 24-13.
As the matchup between the Cougars and Yellow Jackets draws near, here are 10 must-know facts and stats.
Michael Chase is a graduate of Dixie State University and Deseret News contributor. He is the owner of Mike's Professional Editing LLC, which provides proofreading and audio transcription services. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the Utah State game, Taysom Hill showed he can throw accurately when he has adequate pass protection. Through his first four games this season, Hill had thrown just one touchdown pass. Against Utah State, he threw three — all to Mitch Mathews. Hill is now 5-2 as a starter, and two of his wins are victories over Utah State.
The Georgia Tech game is an opportunity for BYU to get another win over a team from an AQ BCS conference. So far this year, BYU is 1-2 against such teams, with a win over Texas and losses to Virginia and Utah. Wisconsin (from the Big 10) will be BYU’s fifth game against such an opponent. And then there is Notre Dame. Although its football team is an independent, Notre Dame automatically qualifies for a BCS bowl game if it finishes in the top eight of the BCS standings at the end of the regular season. An automatic BCS bowl berth for the Irish is almost certain not to happen this year, since Notre Dame already has two losses.
• Both teams have 3-2 records so far
• BYU averages 27.4 points per game; GA Tech averages 35.2
• BYU gives up 16.8 points per game; GA Tech gives up 19.2
• BYU averages 203.8 passing yards per game; GA Tech averages 125.6
• BYU averages 277.8 rushing yards per game; GA Tech averages 300.0
BYU’s defense allows 132.6 rushing yards per game. Georgia Tech’s rushing defense is even better, allowing just 120.8 rushing yards per game. Both of these teams rely more on running than passing the football. Rushing yards account for 57.7 percent of BYU’s total offense, while rushing yards account for 70.5 percent of Georgia Tech’s total offense. The team that more effectively limits its opponent’s rushing game has a good chance of winning this showdown.
If the rushing defenses of both teams do well, then the outcome of this contest could depend on the passing game. As anemic as BYU’s passing game has been this season, it has still outgained Georgia Tech’s passing offense by 391 yards. On the other hand, Georgia Tech’s passing offense is more efficient, having produced seven touchdown passes to BYU’s four.
Turnovers affect morale, field position and momentum. BYU has committed 11 turnovers this year to Georgia Tech’s eight. BYU has yet to play a game this year without committing any turnovers. The Cougars turned the ball over five times in the Middle Tennessee State game, yet still won by 27 points. If BYU commits five turnovers against the Yellow Jackets, the outcome probably won’t be as favorable for the Cougars. BYU must take care of the football if it is going to beat Georgia Tech.
If BYU wins its remaining three home games, it will qualify to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl without having to win any more road games. But no win will be guaranteed or easy for BYU during the remainder of its 2013 schedule, with the likely exception of the Cougars’ contest against Idaho State at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Nov. 16.
Together, Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams have accounted for 74.6 percent of BYU’s total rushing yards this season. Hill averages 115.8 rushing yards per game (ranked 15th nationally), and Williams averages 114.3 yards per game on the ground (ranked 19th nationally). Meanwhile, Georgia Tech’s top rusher is senior running back David Sims, who averages 65.0 rushing yards per game (ranked 84th nationally).
Kicker Justin Sorensen is BYU’s leading scorer with 39 points, averaging 7.8 points per game. He has made 8-of-9 field goal attempts and is a perfect 15-15 on his PAT attempts. Taysom Hill is BYU’s second leading scorer with 36 points, having scored six rushing touchdowns. Combined, Sorensen and Hill have scored 75 points, which is 54.7 percent of BYU’s team total of 137 points.
So far this season, the second and third quarters have been the most productive for the Cougars. During these quarters, BYU has outscored its opponents, 94-36. During the first quarter of games this season, BYU and its opponents are tied at 27 points, while in the 4th quarter, BYU has been outscored by its opponents, 21-16.