BYU vs. East Carolina: 5 Questions

Here are five questions of interest for the BYU Cougars as they take on the East Carolina Pirates this Saturday.

Which side will reverse its 2017 misfortunes? (Photo: Spenser Heaps, Daily Herald)

1. Which will give?

East Carolina (ECU) is the worst scoring defense in the nation allowing 50 points per game. The Pirates also allow 600 yards of total offense a game, which is easily the worst in the nation. On the other hand, BYU is second to last offensively scoring an average of 11.4 points per game. The Cougars also come in second to last nationally in yards per game with a 242.4 yard average.

Which one will deviate from its average? Will BYU double its average offensive output and quadruple its scoring total, or will ECU allow half as many yards and one quarter as many points? What are the chances that the two sides "meet in the middle," and BYU ends up with 400 yards total offense and scores a season high 28 points?

2. Will this be the game BYU passes for 200 yards? 

The last time BYU played ECU, Tanner Mangum had 201 yards passing with five minutes left in the first half. BYU finished the game with 341 yards passing. This year, ECU is allowing 327.9 yards passing per game.

In case you didn't know, BYU has not passed for 200 yards against a FBS opponent since the Toledo game in 2016. With ECU allowing so many yards passing per game, it seems like this would be the game to end this dubious streak. However, South Florida only had 185 yards passing, and James Madison barely got to 200 with 204.

3. Who will step up on offense? 
In order for BYU to get to 200 yards passing, or to meet the averages that the ECU defense is allowing, someone is going to have to step up on offense. Who will it be?

Ula Tolutau almost did it in the Utah State game. He got 100 yards rushing, but had two very costly turnovers. Matt Bushman leads the team in receptions and receiving yards. Will he hit the century mark in receiving yards and haul in a couple of touchdowns? Could it be as simple as Tanner Mangum returning to his freshman form?

Last week, Dayan Ghanwoloku did it on the defensive side. He became the guy to finally give Fred Warner some play-making help. Now, it's time for someone to do it on offense, because there hasn't even been a Fred Warner type player on that side of the ball.

4. How hungry are the Cougars?

When a season goes bad, players sometimes quit. They don't actually stop, physically, showing up, but they are just going through the motions. Has BYU reached that point? Even with Tanner Mangum out for the Utah State game, BYU still played with intensity hoping to end the losing streak by overwhelming an inferior opponent. That was when the losing streak was three games. Will they do the same now that it has doubled?

It seems crazy to think that the BYU players would give up on the season already. A bowl game is still possible, and they should realize the level of difficulty for the remaining games is significantly less than the previous six games. The Cougars should come out looking to feast on Saturday.

5. Can BYU crash the Homecoming party?

It is Homecoming at ECU this week. Two weeks ago, Boise State ruined Homecoming for the Cougars. It is BYU's turn to crash the party. Will they do it? 

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