Blue Blood: O-line moves pay off for Cougars vs. Texas

COMMENTARY — Those eagerly awaiting the BYU-Texas game last Saturday once again had to wait due to the nearly two-hour weather/lightning delay. Seriously what are the odds of BYU having consecutive weeks in which the Cougars had huge weather delays? Then again, Saturday’s delay didn’t seem to hurt the Cougars at all in their domination of the boys from Austin.

It was an absolute demolition of the Longhorns defense by BYU’s ground attack! Plus, Bronco Mendenhall’s defense basically shut down the Texas offense, yet again proving to the nation that it is one of the best defenses in the country in 2013.

BYU’s 40-21 victory over No. 15-ranked Texas last Saturday booted the Longhorns right out of the Top 25 college football rankings. The game also served to get BYU back on track in 2013. Any time a team from the state of Utah beats a team from Texas, it’s a great thing for the entire region.

The Cougars defense beat up and wore out Longhorns QB David Ash from the start, until he could no longer take it and removed himself from the game in the fourth quarter. He was smashed and knocked around all game by Kyle Van Noy, Bronson Kaufusi and Alani Fua. Another notable player who stepped up was senior Skye PoVey. He really contributed with his nine tackles. This defense is very solid once again and works great together, even with the injury-riddled secondary. BYU will cover their weaker secondary by having one of the best front 7’s in all of college football.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Cougars looked much improved over the shaky start we saw two weekends ago in Virginia. If you read my article last week, I called for an identity check in Provo and to be specific, I was calling out the O-line. The coaching staff switched up the starting line-up drastically as well as kept a faster and more frequent rotation at most spots on the offensive line and that seemed to help. What I really noticed is how fast and hard BYU’s line was coming off the ball. They absolutely owned Texas’ defensive front and in almost every situation, blew the Longhorns off the ball. They did not sit back and take the hits this week. They made sure to do all the hitting. They looked big and nasty, just like they should every week. I was very impressed at the dramatic turn around with those guys and they made a lot of former BYU O-lineman like myself very proud. I know its only one week and there needs to be consistency, but they are on their way to re-establishing an identity of the Big Ole Nasties!

In today’s game of football, the most popular trend we see from the NFL all the way to Pee-Wee leagues is a QB that can run. Taysom Hill did just that on Saturday and ended up totaling 259 yards with his feet. Hill broke a 68-yard run in the second quarter, which proved to be the turning point in BYU’s razing of the Texas defense. I am sure he has coaches Mendenhall and Robert Anae smiling big with the thoughts of Hill’s potential and that this is the start of his sophomore campaign.

Hill had a lot of help from his true sophomore running back, Jamaal Williams as well as Paul Lasike. The team tallied 550 yards on the ground. Williams had 30 carries for a career high of 182 yards. This was the most yards ever given up by the Texas Longhorns in school history. The Cougars look to have a solid kicker once again with Justin Sorensen’s four made field goals. After the issues with the kicking in 2012 this is a relief for this program.

It was nice to see Cody Hoffman back and somewhat healthy after missing the Virginia game with a hamstring injury. Cody just moved to the third-ranked receiver in school history with his two big receptions for 63 yards at very critical times in the game. He only trails Margin Hooks and Denis Pitta. If he stays healthy, I see him moving past both of these other BYU greats within a few weeks. With this bye week now, he should get enough rest and recovery time to get back to 100 percent.

Up next for the Cougars is former in-state rival, the University of Utah. The Utes have started off the season strong, beating both Utah State and Weber State. Utah plays Oregon State for Homecoming this week and that should be another blowout for them. Since BYU and Utah are only scheduled for one more game (2016) in the foreseeable future (BYU’s schedules are set through 2023 with no other Utah games on the slate), this one will leave a bitter taste in somebody’s mouth for many years to come.

Utah looks solid at all positions and will prove to be a very tough match for BYU on both the offensive and defensive sides. Utah’s QB position looks to have its first solid player since Alex Smith in 2004. Travis Wilson has some great intangibles, he is 6-foot-6, 240-pounds and can move well, with a strong arm. He also seems to have good receivers and running backs surrounding him. BYU’s defense will have to play sound football. Utah’s defense is filled with good depth and a lot playmakers, like Reilly Trevor, Eric Rowe and V.J. Fehoko, just to name a few.

Even though this game is not like it was when both teams were in the Mountain West or WAC conferences, it still means a lot to college football fans in Utah. Catch my article next week on www.stgeorgeutah.com for an in depth breakdown on what BYU must do to beat Utah.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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