If you are a Brigham Young Cougars fan, then you probably didn't like much of what you saw on Saturday night. From play on the field, to officiating, to the final score, there wasn't much to like. However, one of the 5 things to watch for was a nice surprise.
The scheme Utah used worked pretty well. It didn't shut down the run, but it did enough to win the game. BYU finished the game with 183 yards on 47 rushes (3.9 yards per rush). The Utah run defense was certainly helped by the absence of Jamaal Williams for most of the second half following his scary injury.
Taysom Hill did break loose for 41-yards at one point, and he finished the game with 99 yards, which takes into account the 28 yards lost on five sacks.
2. Will BYU miss Spencer Hadley?
It didn't appear so. While it is impossible to judge whether Hadley would have played better than his replacement, it is hard to argue against the play of Tyler Beck on Saturday. Beck finished with a game-high 10 tackles with 2 tackles for loss. He made plays all over the field, including some third down stops.
3. Wide Receiver Play
The Cougar wide outs had a pretty good game. There were a few dropped passes early, which could have helped the offense get more rhythm. However, those dropped passes weren't the difference in the game. It didn't help that both very early and very late (on the final play of the game, to be precise) the Pac-12 officiating crew didn't dare call pass interference penalties against Utah despite there blatant hits that dropped Cody Hoffman and Mitch Mathews to the turf. Overall, Hoffman was his usual self (i.e. 100 yards) and JD Falslev made some big first down grabs.
The Utah wide receivers were an impact on this game. The 74-yard grab by Dres Andersen that set up the touchdown at the end of the half was a game changer (read more about it in the Game Changing Plays, to be published shortly). Andersen also had a 26-yard grad in the first half that set up a field goal.
This is the most disheartening part of Saturday's outcome. I think we can all handle another poor passing game from Taysom Hill, and who would have cared if the game was close and it took a miracle to win? All that mattered was that BYU win. Alas, the Cougs couldn't pull it out, and for the first time in fifty years we will see six seasons pass without a W against the dreaded Utes.
5. The royal blue magic.
The royal blue uniforms looked great, but they didn't work any magic for BYU. For a while, it appeared we would see another comeback from 20-6 to force overtime, like Utah did in 2009 when BYU wore the royal blues.
JD Falslev was able to return a punt 58-yards to upstage O'Neill Chambers' 43-yarder from 2009.
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