Blue Blood: ECU win was good, but Cougars defense must get better

COMMENTARY — With another win in the books for BYU football, now sitting 4-2, the program should be pretty content with all that it has endured so far in 2015 season.

120px-BYUlogoMost people that follow the Cougars closely are happy with the most recent win over ECU, but I wanted to see more out of the BYU’s defense last Saturday. I did call it last week when I said ECU was underrated and going to be really competitive. The East Carolina Pirates should almost feel terrible that they didn’t come out with a win because I believe they outplayed BYU to a certain extent in many areas of the game.

When an East Coast team comes to Lavell Edwards Stadium on Homecoming and puts up 518 yards of total offence to BYU’s 508 yards, they would likely expect a different outcome on the scoreboard. That being said, if it wasn’t for Bronson Kaufusi dominating opposing teams offenses, BYU’s defense would be horrendous. Bronco Mendenhall’s defense really needs to step it up more, especially in the secondary.

Even with the last minute heroics of Tanner Mangum, who returned to the field late in the fourth quarter after an injury to his hamstring, the game-winning touchdown wasn’t too thrilling to me. Bronco’s team wants to dominate and be recognized as Power 5-worthy, but squeaking one out at home like they did doesn’t sell that to many outsiders. BYU needs to put together all three phases of football and roll out some impressive wins with the next six opponents.

Alge Brown. | Photo courtesy BYU Athletics
Alge Brown. | Photo courtesy BYU Athletics

My player of the week is actually split between two BYU players who really stepped up big time: Senior receiver Devon Blackmon shined with a total of nine receptions for 142 yards, including two catches on the game winning drive. He had the best game of his career. And there was Algernon Brown, who replaced the injured Adam Hine with his 24 rushing attempts, gaining 134 yards and three touchdowns.

Typically, when BYU puts up 45 points on a good team, it’s a great thing. But the Pirates putting up 38 points on BYU is the underlying story to me. Even taking into account that in this day and age college football programs are on a much more even playing field vs. a decade ago, surrendering that kind of yardage and that number of points at home is inexcusable.

Imagine what a great offensive team like Baylor or Texas Tech would do to this BYU defense. Whatever else happens in 2015, if BYU is going to put together a big winning streak, the defense has got to get better.

The competition across NCAA football is stiff and well distributed and it makes for some great football weekly. There are already 11 Top 25 ranked teams that have lost a game and we are only heading into Week 7. If BYU hopes to get back into the Top 25 by season’s end, the Cougars must win out. But with so many teams already with one or two losses, it could happen sooner than later for the Cougars.

BYU has the 3-2 Cincinnati Bearcats coming to Provo this Friday for another ESPN showdown. This is a big game because the Cougars could regain some popularity nationally with a much-needed dominating performance. The Bearcats have been really competitive so far this season, already beating Miami, Miami (Ohio) and Alabama A&M. They have lost by a touchdown to both Memphis and Temple.

BYU will ultimately have its hands full, with Cincinnati coming off a bye and having two weeks to prepare for the Cougars. Unfortunately, this is a short week for BYU and the Cougars have injuries at almost every position and will be forced to compete really banged up. With Wagner coming up the following week, then a bye week, this is BYU’s last real challenge until Nov. 6.

BYU is a seven-point favorite, but again, it will take everything they’ve got to win and win big.

Blue Blood is a sports column written by Scott Young. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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