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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Game Recap: BYU 52, Wyoming 0

Was that a game or a highlight show? BYU scored on its first seven possessions. Max Hall was a flawless 20 of 22 for 312 yards and 4 touchdown passes, while the ground game piled up 231 yards. The defense pitched a shutout. It was the units best performance of the year since the opener against Oklahoma allowing only 225 total yards (113 passing, 112 rushing), forcing three turnovers, and holding the Cowboys to a 33.3% third-down conversion percentage. BYU punted only once. Two weeks after almost nothing went right, almost nothing went wrong for the Cougars.

As for what I was watching for, here is what I saw:
  1. Will BYU let the loss to TCU affect them? First half stats: Max Hall was 16 of 17 for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns, the defense forced three, three-and-outs, and the score was 31-0. I think that answers my question. As I said, “If they used the loss as motivation, this game could be over by halftime.”
  2. Will Harvey Unga break the BYU career rushing record? No. Unga gained about half of what he needed, 85 yards, on 16 carries. He did suffer a minor ankle injury in the third quarter, but that had a negligible, if any, impact on his numbers for the game. He should get the 90 yards he still needs next week.
  3. Will BYU minimize turnovers? Yes, but they had some close calls. O’Neill Chambers fumbled a punt, but BYU quickly recovered it. Riley Nelson threw an interception that was negated by offsetting penalties.
  4. Will McKay Jacobson have an impact? The sophomore speedster scored on a 79-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter en route to a 3 reception 100 yard performance in the first half. Personally, I feel that aside from his stats, he had an intangible impact that helped Max Hall have the best game of his career.
Other observations:
  • It was good to see so many reserves get so much quality time, but it would have been nice to see Riley Nelson throw some passes.
  • The most ironic twist of this game was after BYU kicked a field goal on its eighth possession of the game, the officials reviewed the play and found that BYU had 12 men on the field, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty and a rekick. The second kick failed. The irony of it all was that the first kick was almost equivalent to an extra point. The 15-yard penalty put the ball at approximately the same distance as the extra point try by Washington last year following the controversial Jake Locker celebration penalty. As we all remember, BYU blocked Washington’s extra point attempt, and won the game 28-27. While Washington lost more (a chance to force overtime and possibly win the game) than BYU lost today (a chance to score on every possession), I found the similarities quirky enough to point out.
  • I like the stable of running backs that the Cougars have quietly loaded. Brian Kariya and J.J. Di Luigi are a nice combo who provide insurance for those times that Unga is on the sidelines.
Next week: BYU at New Mexico, 2:00 PM (MST)

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