|Dayan Ghanwoloku returns one of his two interceptions (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photos)|
It's time to answer the five questions that Blue Cougar Football had for the BYU game at Mississippi State.
1. How will the BYU quarterback situation play out?
Tanner Mangum was entrenched as the starter, today. BYU had just three points well into the second half. It was clear, BYU wasn't going to snap out of its funk and make a comeback. However, Mangum continued to play. Critchlow didn't relieve Mangum until the final drive of the game.
Just like last week, Critchlow dropped back to pass every down. Offensive coordinator Ty Detmer is making the most of Critchlow's limited opportunities to provide experience and teaching moments.
2. Will BYU abandon the run?
BYU ran the ball 16 times--for the game. Five of those came on the game's opening drive. Several came on third and long situation. The only "rush" of the fourth quarter was Mangum getting sacked.
The runs were effective on the first drive, but for the game BYU averaged less than two yards per carry.
Yes, BYU abandoned the run. Ula Tolutau's fumble with 10:08 left in the second quarter had a lot to do with it. It was BYU's eighth running play of the game. He is the Cougars' principle ball carrier. If BYU can't count on him to secure the ball, then there is little that can be done on the ground.
3. Which Mississippi State team will show up?
Mississippi State got back to its winning ways, and the Bulldogs looked like the same team it was before dropping the last two games. However, they didn't look like world beaters. Against a better team, Mississippi State's three turnovers would have been very costly. BYU should have turned all three into touchdowns. That would have made the Bulldogs' sideline a lot less comfortable.
4. Can the BYU defense get off the field?
Mississippi State had five drives of 10 plays or more. Two of those ended with Dayan Ghanwoloku interceptions, so technically, the defense did get off the field unscathed on those drives. The other three drives were touchdown drives.
Third down defense is still a problem. The Bulldogs converted eight of 13 third downs (62%).
Time of possession was bad, again. Mississippi State had its highest time of possession of the season (36:48). BYU held the ball for over five minutes on its first drive, but only about 18 minutes the rest of the game.
5. How will BYU handle a real road trip?
BYU did play better than its last trip to the South. The Cougars scored 10 more points, and nearly doubled its total offense. Bottom line, BYU was over matched, and that is the reason they lost.
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