|BYU WR Micah Simon makes the first of two touchdown catches against San Jose State (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)|
After losing seven games in a row, the BYU Cougars finally got a win against San Jose State. The win lifted a huge burden off the coaches and players. It would be understandable if BYU wanted to take some extra time to enjoy the relief that came from winning.
Besides getting the win, the Cougar offense exploded for 41 points and nearly 600 yards of total offense. On defense, the Cougars exploded to create five takeaways. After two grueling months of wanting to play better, they finally did. It would be very appealing to rationalize that this breakthrough signified they could now cruise on autopilot.
Head Coach Kalani Sitake felt otherwise. Immediately following the game, he stated, "There are a lot of things to fix, I’m just pleased that we got the win. It’s been something that we’ve been needing, so I’m excited for that but I just really want to get to work and try to get the next one."
He also said, "I still feel like there were a lot of points left on the field and off the scoreboard.
"Offensively, we still have things that we need to keep working on."
Wide receiver Micah Simon knows exactly what Sitake was saying. Although he had two touchdown receptions and a team high 67 yards receiving, he also made his share of mistakes. In the first quarter, he let a pass slip through his hands that was intercepted. On the final play of the first half, he dropped a pass in the end zone that he got both hands on.
"We need to get back to work and minimize those mistakes," said Simon after the game.
Quarterback Tanner Mangum was on the same page after the game.
"Obviously we are happy with the win, but there is a lot more we could have done," Mangum explained. "I missed a couple of throws, and there were some drives we could have finished. Even if you are winning, you’re always going to want more. It’s good because we never want to be satisfied."
In addition to the errors by Simon, Mangum threw a pass behind Matt Bushman on third down from the San Jose State 15-yard line. BYU ended up getting no points on the drive because the field goal attempt was no good. Another drive stalled after Mangum threw an incomplete pass in the end zone. A couple of well-timed long balls in the second half disguised how much Mangum struggled in the second half.
Following the weekend and film study, Mangum reiterated, "It was interesting because we played well and put up a lot of points, but after watching film I still think there is so much more we could have done. There were a lot of plays left out on the field, especially on third downs—we were only 33 percent on third downs. There were a lot of drives that weren’t finished. We are happy with the progress but there is more to be done.
"There were some good throws, and I saw some bad ones after watching film."
Much like Mangum, Sitake was singing the same tune on Monday.
"There are a lot of things we saw that we can do better," Sitake said as he addressed the media yesterday.
His sentiments weren't lost on linebacker Adam Pulsipher.
The junior told the media on Monday, "There's always room for improvement and this week we've got to go back to practice to shore up a few things."
The defense had a few penalties, like roughing the passer, which negated an interception and long return by Dayan Ghanwoloku.
There really is no room for complacency in the program. BYU still has to win every single game if there is going to be a bowl game this year. Not every opponent will be a pushover like San Jose State. Everyone from coaches to players would be wise to have the attitude Sione Takitaki had after the game. He simply stated, "We’ve got Fresno State next week."
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