BYU vs. Idaho: Five Game Observations

The Brigham Young Cougars seniors made their last home game an offensive rout and put on a show for senior night beating the Vandals 52-13. As anticipated, BYU came out with a lot of ferocity and scored 28 points by the end of the first quarter alone. With Nelson alternating between pounding the running game via Jamaal Williams and going airborne with Cody Hoffman, the Cougars outplayed Idaho in almost every way.

1. Craig Bills and the Cougar defense

BYU’s defense had a great night limiting Idaho’s rushing yards to only 61 in 19 attempts. The Cougar defense also created five Vandal turnovers, one of which was a snap flung too high over Idaho quarterback Logan Bushnell's head inside their own ten-yard line. The fumble resulted in BYU linebacker Spencer Hadley picking up the fumble in the end zone for a freebie. 

Craig Bills tied for the team lead with 6 tackles. He also had two pass breakups and one forced fumble. As a whole, however, the Cougar defense could have been a little better defending the pass. Idaho had nearly 50 more yards passing than BYU's season average.

2. The 1,000 yards club

Jamaal Williams and Cody Hoffman both had big nights with plenty of opportunities to gain sizeable yardage off the hands of Riley Nelson, and both ended up with just over 100 yards. Williams averaged ten yards per run in ten attempts to rack up his 104 rushing yards and two touchdowns, and now has 620 rushing yards on the season. Cody Hoffman logged his 108 yards in nine receptions including three touchdowns on the evening. The Hoff sits at 797 yards receiving.

Hoffman still has a shot to finish with 1,000 yards this season, but for Williams to make his 1,000 he must 1) be offered many opportunities to run, and 2) be primed for defense penetration by a dominate offensive line which has not been stellar so far this season.
Long story short, Jamaal Williams and Cody Hoffman both have a decent shot at reaching that golden number of 1,000 yards with San Jose St. and New Mexico St., plus a bowl game as the final games on BYU’s schedule. However, it will be easier for Hoffman.

3. Punting

Riley Stephenson punted twice and averaged 42.5 yards each. With these decent punts in the game, he shouldn’t drop too far his current no. 4 rank in the name for average yards per punt. The weather turned out to be clear, with only the biting cold as a potential issue. What really hurt Stephenson was that one punt was a pooch punt from the 39-yard line. BYU didn’t have to punt a lot as anticipated, but with such an offensive burst there were quite a few kickoffs.

4. The Class of 2010

The class of 2010 had only a quiet presence in Saturday’s victory over Idaho. Ross Apo had a decent night with 70 yards in four receptions, including a big 53-yard catch early in the game. He finished second in receiving yards for BYU after Cody Hoffman against Idaho. Both Bronson Kaufusi and Alani Fua on the defensive side posted a tackle a piece on the night.

5. The Seniors

The seniors took advantage of a great opportunity to come out and play their best in a low-pressure situation on senior night. Riley Nelson came out of the game early in the third quarter after logging 236 yards passing and 49 yards rushing, including three touchdown passes and was replaced by fellow senior James Lark who had 49 yards in his time on the field including a touchdown. Seniors Brandon Ogletree and Preston Hadley both had a good night on the defense as well notching 6 and 5 tackles respectively. Russell Tialavea and Simote Vea made fumble recoveries. Robbie Buckner started his first game since 2009. He made the most of it with an interception, pass breakup, and a tackle. With BYU so far ahead at the half, many players who have had to stay on the bench as a result of so many close games, got some good playing time tonight just in time for senior night.

With BYU’s victory over the Idaho Vandals comes an appearance at the Poinsettia Bowl on December 20, 2012 at QualComm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. against a WAC conference opponent, probably San Diego State. BYU’s schedule is smooth sailing until the Poinsettia Bowl, which should turn out to be a great game of football in December!

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