Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A look back/ A look ahead....

At the end of the day when the national media took a glance at the BYU/NIU score, I think they saw what they had probably expected to see.  A 24 point win by the Cougars over the visiting Panthers.

Those of us at the game though saw things as they really unfolded and realize that the score can be a bit misleading.  Fortunately for the Cougars, despite their mistakes, they still came out on top with the first win of the season.

The Good:  

Max Hall for the most part had a great day.  He completed 34 of 41 for 486 yards.  He and Dennis Pitta connected for 11 of those completions for 213 yards.  

The offense in the first half put up 27 points while the defense held NIU to only a field goal.   

Justin Sorenson put every kickoff into the end-zone throughout the game.  I don't believe we saw that once last year. 

Overall, aside from a few miscues the defense played pretty well against a Div 1-FCS offense that is better than most people are giving them credit.  The defense is considered by most critics as being the week spot of the team.  I think they will surprise some people and actually be better than expected. 

The offense is as good as advertised.  They are going to put up good numbers against every team they face.  The O-line is tough.  Matt Reynolds missed a block once at the left tackle position for which Max paid the price, but other than that they gave him great protection.  

This offense is going to be fun to watch.

The Bad:

The defense gave up two big plays in the game, one a 69 yard run by the QB and the other a 76 yard strike off of a double reverse pass.  It brought back memories of Tulsa exploiting our secondary last season. 

The whole third quarter and part of the fourth was no good.  The Cougars fumbled the ball 4 times.  Max Hall took two blind side hits, one of which resulted in a fumble in the end-zone, and the other he got his bell rung and was slow to get up.  I don't think it is any secret that this team desperately needs Max to stay healthy. 

I think BYU went conservative and thought they could coast to the win in the second half.  I don't like that mentality.  I think this year more than any, with all the national attention they are receiving, they need to bury their opponents and put up a lot of points.  I am glad that they were able to finish it out and win by 24, but they never should have been only ahead by 10 points going into the fourth quarter.  

Final thoughts:

All and all I think it was a good day.  Both sides of the ball played pretty good.  Sure they had some mistakes but that is to be expected in the first game of the season.  They now know what areas to work on and I am expecting a pretty well played game on Saturday against Washington.  

Speaking of which:

 Cougar fans, if you don't know who Jake Locker is, by Saturday afternoon you will.  The guy is an absolute stud.  I've heard some analysts say he is quite possibly the most talented, athletic QB in college football.  That's the bad news.  

The good news is that it appears he is the only weapon UW has.  If BYU can contain him and keep him somewhat in check, they should be able to pull out the win quite convincingly.  As we know though a non-conference road win has eluded Bronco since he took over as head coach.

The next two games are crucial.  This is the time that BYU needs to step up and prove that they are worthy of the hype that they have been given.   


Dr. P said...

BYU will be fine, Northern Iowa is not the opponent to guage against, I dont care how "good" they were. My advice to the cougars and their fans is play one game at a time, dont talk too much about your undefeated season until you do it,
and they are not the "Lord's team" as that is taking it a little too far.

SittinDeadRed said...

It's one thing to predict an undefeated season, it's another to set that as a goal.

I would rather them just play the games as you say, but I won't hold it against them for setting that as a goal and letting people know it.

They have a favorable schedule and the talent to beat every team they play. That's not to say it would be easy nor that it will happen. History has proven that chances of them doing so are slim. But why not set their sights high? Especially after the results of the last two seasons.

It's a team goal, not a prediction.

I'm thinking the "Lords team" was a shot at you Utes to get you to comment about it. Which you did.

Tikes said...

We all know that your shade of blue is too dark to be "the lords". Its more of a cloudy light blue...with the letters NC.

Dr. P said...

Name one team that doesnt have the goal to win every game....not counting tee ball.

SittinDeadRed said...

Then why is it such an issue with you?

SittinDeadRed said...

I've heard a couple of Ute players asked on the radio what their team goals were leading into the season. Without fail they all said it was to win the conference championship. That's standard.

Out of conference wins are nice, but the main goal for most programs is to take care of business in conference and win the championship.

BYU has not lost a conference game for the last two consecutive seasons. They want to achieve more than what they did in those years. A conference championship alone isn't an improvement over what they have been able to accomplish.

Hence the reason for the goal. They're trying to improve on two consecutive 11-2 seasons.

What should they make as their goal Dr?

SittinDeadRed said...

I don't believe the Lord cares one way or the other. That's just me.

But if he did, why would he choose a team that's located on tobacco row. Wouldn't that go against the W of W?

Dr. P said...

I think the goal should be to be undefeated. I was just saying that that goal was nothing unique. A lot of BYU fans are not talking about goals when they are talking about going undefeated. I have no problem with goals. I have no problem with anyone saying they will go undefeated either, just that it will look worse if you dont do it. props to you in thinking that the Lord's team is not necessarily BYU. you should try and convince some of your homers that the Lords team wears black nametags. One thing is for sure, no one ever accused the U of being the Lord's team.

Fat One said...

My post had its intended result, finally a little banter. I graduated from the U and cheer for the U as well. I was raised on BYU and so I pull that way when it comes down to it. I apologize if I offended anybody with the comment. All I know is that this season is shaping up to be very interesting and that I think one team's dreams are going to be crushed the last game of the seasom.