Every week there’s something for a football team to improve. For quite some time, the Brigham Young Cougars have needed to improve the turnover margin in big games. Against Boise State they did just that.
Coming into Friday’s game against Boise State, BYU had forced 11
turnovers while commiting 14 turnovers (-3)--a stat that not many 5-2
teams could have. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall was stressing the need to
force turnovers if this defense would live up to its reputation.
coaching must’ve paid off as the Cougars forced 3 fumbles, and
intercepted a pass all the while not turning over the ball once against
The irony of the situation is that Boise State
boasted a solid running attack and versatile receivers while back-up
quarterback Grant Hedricks was set to make his first career start. Being
Hedricks first start, it’s understandable that he may throw a pick or
two, but fortunately for him he only threw one. At the end of the third
quarter, Hedricks was pressured by oncoming rushers and just tossed one a
bit too far down the middle leaving an uncontested Skye Povey to easily
take it for himself.
Hedricks may not have played a spectacular
game, but he was much better at handling the ball than his seasoned
rushers and receivers.
The first fumble came on a screen pass to
Shane Williams who, at first, shook off a tackle from Craig Bills, but
didn’t see Bills coming the second time who blindsided Williams to force
the fumble. It was Bills' first game after being injured, so he was
hungry for some hitting. Perhaps we can’t blame Williams for dropping
The next fumble came on a slant pass to WR Geraldo Boldewijn. He was
immediately closed in on by Uani Unga who pounded the football to the
ground allowing Kyle Van Noy to jump on it. Despite Van Noy being the
All-American of the defense, Unga continues to demonstrate he deserves
his captain status.
The last and final fumble to put Boise State
out of their misery came from their heralded running back Jay Ajayi. It
was a run like any other with Ajayi simply going up the middle for what
would have been a first down, if not for linebacker Tyler Beck. Beck put
his hand in the right spot to strip the ball right out from Ajayi.
Defensive lineman Remington Peck fell on the ball for his second
recovery of the game.
These Bronco turnovers gave BYU a 4-0 edge
in turnover margin. Having three of them happen back-to-back-to-back in
the second half was too demoralizing for Boise State to make any
For Cougar fans, it was pure bliss. Having been on the
opposite side of the turnover fest for far too many times, including a
miserable 7-6 loss to Boise State last year, it felt great to have a
nationally respected and recognized program collapse like this right
before their eyes.
This is now Boise State’s worst season since
2007 where they finished 10-3. This also became the first time the
Broncos have lost to a Utah team.
As for BYU, the Cougars are in
full swing. They are able to go into any game expecting to win. They
have two weeks to prepare for Wisconsin who will be ranked, provided
they beat Iowa this week.
If the Cougars remain on the positive side of the turnover margin it will be hard for any team to beat them.
By Tanner Spear
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