|Freshman Joe Critchlow got his first career start at QB for BYU (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)|
The BYU Cougars are done dispatching the UNLV Running Rebels, 31-21. Now, it's time to answer our five pre-game questions.
1. Who will be BYU's starting quarterback?
Minutes before the game, word got out that Beau Hoge was out for the season with a toe injury. That made Joe Critchlow the starter. The true freshman from Tennessee played well. He completed 14 of 22 passes for 160 yards and 1 touchdown. That translates to a 139.7 pass efficiency rating.
Most of his damage was done in the fist half when he completed 10 of 14 for 119 yards. His effectiveness early in the game forced UNLV to respect the pass, which opened up running lanes for Squally Canada and Austin Kafentzis.
2. Can BYU keep the streaks alive?
BYU maintained its bragging rights with the Running Rebels. Not only is that eight straight wins in the series, Sam Boyd Stadium is Cougar Country. BYU is still perfect against UNLV in Las Vegas.
3. Can comparing common foes have any meaning?
UNLV had the better resume with a win over Fresno State, but on this night that didn't mean a thing. BYU outplayed the Running Rebels and ran away with the win. Just one more example why, regardless of what statistics and data show, the game needs to be played.
4. Can BYU finally get a good punt return?
The Cougar defense forced UNLV to punt three times, but none of them were returned. There might have been a lot of positives from the game, but Cougar fans will have to wait at least one more week for a punt return highlight.
5. Can BYU stop the run well enough to win?
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: UNLV ran the ball 34 times, but it was a little surprising the Running Rebels didn't run it more. With regular starting quarterback Armani Rodgers out with a concussion, one would expect a team that is already run first to depend even more on its strength. Even before falling behind, UNLV was throwing the ball more than expected.
Lexington Thomas came into the game averaging 118 yards per game, but BYU held him to 83.
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