It has been exactly one year since BYU last won on the road (November 14, 2009, game 10, at New Mexico 24-19). In fact, the winless road record directly contrasts the perfect 5-0 record BYU posted last year on the road. Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said, "To make a phantom out of playing on the road, that it's bigger than it is, I'm not going to do that." That is the right decision.
BYU played very well at Air Force for the first 20 minutes. In Tallahassee, the Cougars had all the momentum and trailed the Seminoles only 13-10 at half. The defense played possibly its best game at TCU. Turnovers (Air Force), poor tackling and offensive line play (Florida State), and playing a better opponent (TCU) explain why BYU lost these games much better than saying it was the road environment. The only time BYU has really looked bad on the road was up in Logan.
This game will come down to the battle between BYU’s offense and Colorado State’s defense. Both have been mediocre this season. BYU exploded for 55 points last week, but prior to that had not scored more than 24 offensive points all season. Colorado State has allowed, on average, over 32 points per game. However, they “held” TCU to 27 points. A good game plan and players full of emotion could give the BYU offense trouble.
The Colorado State offense has been anemic at times this year. Anytime they have played a formidable defense they have been held to single digit points. The “new” BYU defense should keep the Rams below 10 points this week.
Things to watch for:
- Pressuring the QB. Last year, Utah QB Jordan Wynn started 7 for 7 against BYU. BYU was making him look like a seasoned vet. Then the BYU D hit him a few times, and Wynn started playing the way most true freshmen play—really bad. The BYU defense needs to set the tone early and knock CSU QB Peter Thomas around. This will get in his mind and mess up his rhythm.
- BYU Passing Game. I have been guardedly optimistic about what we saw Jake Heaps and his receivers do last Saturday. Are we going to see the same thing regularly now, or was it a by product of playing UNLV? The Rams kept San Diego State quarterback Ryan Lindley in check last week. BYU will need the pass game to be relevant for a win this week.
- Stopping the run. BYU has allowed an average of 61.5 rushing yards per game the last four games. This trend will probably continue. Colorado State is 96th in the country in rushing offense with 121 yards per game.
Last: BYU won 42-23 (2009)
Streak: BYU won 6
KICKOFF: 12:00 PM (MDT)
TV: The Mtn.
RADIO: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM, www.ksl.com