The Brigham Young Cougars (5-4) will play football again. BYU had a bye last week, but it felt much longer than a one week break in the schedule. In light of recent events, nothing could be better for the team than to play a game. Even if the game is against Idaho (1-8).
News broke Thursday night that two Cougars defenders were suspended for the rest of the season. Although their absence won't effect the outcome of the game tonight, and possibly the rest of the season, it was a black eye for the program. Nothing gets rid of a black eye faster than playing games, especially when a team wins.
Idaho just might be the worst team on BYU's schedule this year. The only thing preventing that label from being slapped on the Vandals without the qualifier "might" is their 26-18 win over the Cougars' November 24 opponent New Mexico State.
Opponents have scored over 60 points three times this season. On average, Idaho allows 42 points per game, while scoring just 15.7. Louisiana Tech had over 800 yards of total offense when they played Idaho October 20.
Idaho averages 232 passing yards per game, but quarterback Dominique Blackman was dismissed from the team less than two weeks ago. Idaho had just 196 passing yards in the only game since the suspension. BYU has allowed just 167.8 passing yards per game. The Vandals have no run game to fall back on, either. They are 121st in the nation averaging 78.9 yards per game. The team's leading rusher has just 324 yards this season.
A week before kicking Blackman off the team, Idaho fired head coach Robb Akey.
Despite playing a quality opponent, this is must see TV for BYU fans. How the team responds to the suspensions will be very important to the rest of the season, and how this team gets remember in the history books.
The BYU defense is top 10 in the nation in seven defensive statistical categories. It was expected that the Cougar D would strengthen its position in these categories after playing Idaho. Emotions can play a big role in college football games. If this incident has negative emotional side effect lingering with the players, then Idaho may put up more yards and points than otherwise expected.
The key to the game for BYU will be to come out fast. Score a early and often on offense, and smother and suffocate on defense. Last week, Idaho was able to hang around with San Jose State and kept the game interesting late into the third quarter. BYU can't allow Idaho to have any kind of confidence boost.
All-time Series: 2-2
Last: BYU won 42-7 (2011)
Streak: BYU won 1
KICKOFF: 8:15 PM (Mountain Time)
TV: ESPNU, www.watchespn.com
RADIO: KSL 1160 AM, 102.7 FM, www.ksl.com, Sirius XM Ch. 143
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