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Monday, November 19, 2012

BYU vs. San Jose State: 5 Game Observations

San Jose State came flying out of the gates against the Brigham Young Cougars Saturday night. They jumped out to an early lead and held out until the end. The Spartans did everything right in the first half and left BYU trying to keep up. The BYU defense kicked in for the second half, effectively holding back the San Jose State offense that was dominant in the first half. The BYU offense couldn’t kick start in time to overtake the Spartans and San Jose State won their fifth straight game.

1. David Fales, Noel Grigsby and San Jose State Airborne Offense

Even more vigorously than expected, the San Jose State offense blew open the gates in the first quarter. David Fales was stellar throughout the first half throwing for 3 touchdowns on San Jose’s first 3 drives. Noel Grigsby logged eight receptions for a total of 132 yards, including a 51-yard bomb from Fales which resulted in a Spartan touchdown within two minutes of kickoff.

The key to Fales’ dominance early on was how he spread his passes around the team. Fales passed to 6 different receivers, of which, five had 25 yards or more. Fales and the San Jose State Airborne Offense kept BYU guessing throughout the first half, but was fairly quiet in the second half.

2. Second Half Performance        

With a 13-point lead going into the second half, San Jose State had a little bit of breathing room. BYU’s defensive front, which was controlled by San Jose State’s effective offensive line in the first quarter, really caught fire in the third quarter. Brandon Ogletree, Kyle Van Noy, Jordan Johnson and Craig Bills all contributed to a defensive surge for BYU and held the Spartans at bay for the rest of the game.

BYU’s offense couldn’t get going until the third quarter when the Spartan defense was just good enough to slow BYU’s rhythm. Riley Nelson was able to make some key plays in the fourth quarter, including a nice pass to David Foote for a touchdown, but had a lot of trouble against San Jose State’s pass defense in the red zone.

3. Can San Jose State’s Offensive Line Hold Up?

The offensive line for San Jose State did everything right in the first half, giving David Fales plenty of time to tag is receivers consistently. BYU wasn’t able to get their defense pushing hard and blitzing effectively until the second half. The tough stand of the offensive line in front of Fales was enough to contribute to three early touchdowns for San Jose State. Their work in the first half was enough to give the Spartans a lead and hang on until the end of the game.           

4. Who Comes Out of the Gates first?

San Jose State had complete dominance in the first half, offense and defense. San Jose State was able to score a minute and a half into both the first and second quarters, setting them up for the advantage heading into the second half. Though the Spartans weren’t able to get much going on the ground (59 rushing yards on the game), Fales was poised and in control for the entire first half. BYU couldn’t get any kind of rhythm going for the first three quarters, which cost them when they made a strong, albeit late, effort in the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter was riddled with promising turns of event for the Cougars including some key 4th down conversions and an onside kick recovery. However, BYU wasn’t able to push hard enough to overcome San Jose State because they weren’t able to get ahead early in the game.

5. Cody Hoffman: Will he stay on track?

Though the BYU offense come up short, Cody Hoffman had a big night with 155 receiving yards, and is still on track to reach 1,000 by the end of season. BYU made it deep into San Jose State territory several times by way of some clutch plays, and Hoffman was in the thick of it nearly every time. 

Cody Hoffman has had a big junior year, and the question remains whether or not he will stay on board with BYU for his final season. Hoffman has the size and athleticism to perform at the NFL level and he showcased those skills against the Spartans. BYU’s next opponent, New Mexico State, should provide Hoffman with ample opportunities to showcase his skills and rake in the yardage.

BYU’s last game of the regular season will be against the New Mexico State Aggies on November 24. The Aggies’ are 1-9 this season, with their only win coming against their home-opener opponent Sacramento State. After BYU, New Mexico State plays their last opponent of the season, WAC conference opponent Texas State.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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