Does BYU have an “SEC” defense?

The Brigham Young Cougars went to SEC country and came home with a win. They got the win on the strength of their defense, and it was more than Kyle Van Noy scoring the winning points on a fumble. The BYU defense was physical. They didn’t get pushed around by the behemoth Ole Miss offensive line. They played well from start to finish.

The numbers prove just how good BYU was on Saturday.

First Downs Allowed: 13
Third Down Efficiency: 3/12 (25%)
Total Yards Allowed: 208
Yards per rush (YPR): 2.2
Yards per pass (YPP): 5.1
Turnovers: 2
Points Allowed: 6

Standing alone, these numbers are very impressive. They even hold their own against the numbers allowed by all the SEC defenses. In five of these seven categories, BYU is in the top four of the SEC. Turnovers and yards per pass are the only categories that BYU isn’t in the top four.

By the numbers, BYU has a defense that would be in the top 1/3 of the SEC. Interestingly, BYU was the only team that played an SEC team. Alabama played Kent State, a bottom half MAC team. Arkansas beat up on a FCS foe—Missouri State. Florida and Kentucky found in-state Sun Belt fodder with Florida Atlantic and Western Kentucky, respectively.

Some other interesting figures:
  • Ole Miss gained 2 yards or less on 35% (20/57) of their offensive plays (three 2-yard plays, seven 1-yard plays, five plays for no gain, and five plays for negative yardage).
  • Ole Miss' longest run was 11 yards.
  • Ole Miss' longest pass was 24 yards.
Does this mean the BYU defense is an SEC caliber defense? It is too soon to tell. This was just one week. BYU needs to consistently play at this level all year long. Just two years ago, the Cougar defense played a classic game against Oklahoma to start the year. Two weeks later, the defense was burned by Florida State. It is also possible that Ole Miss will have even worse numbers offensively when they play their conference games.

The bottom line is the BYU defense played a great game, and they won the game for BYU against Ole Miss. Their challenge is to replicate this performance each week. If they can, they could end up the best in BYU history.

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