Cougars night ends better than Knights night

September 24, 2011    By: Geoff J @ 10:21 am   Category: Sports

After being humiliated at home last week by Utah, the BYU football team did enough to beat the UCF Knights in Provo last night by the score of 24-17.

Here are some thoughts on the game:
– Despite some blown coverages and occasionally inept tackling, the BYU defense got the job done again for BYU primarily through ferocious hitting and creating turnovers. In the end “points allowed” is the only stat that really matters for a defense.
– Huge night for BYU special teams. A successful fake punt, a booming punt that resulted in BYU getting the ball back, and a kickoff returned for a TD were all crucial to BYU winning this game.
– The offense remains painfully inept. But there were some signs of life in the running game.
– Jake Heaps had a bad night. He seems to be making a habit of thoroughly mediocre play for BYU. His most egregious mistakes of the night were two sure touchdowns he overthrew plus an interception that he should never have thrown to a well covered receiver.
– Offensive coordinator Brandon Doman went up to the press box for this game but still had an up and down game. Some great calls like the Diluigi TD pitch that everyone thought was going up the gut. The Jacobson deep route he called was great too but Heaps missed his open receiver in the endzone on that one. Most horrible call was the Riley Nelson throw on 4th and 1. Yeah I get the idea of surprising them but Nelson is not an accurate QB and his throw wasn’t close.
– Bronco needs to work on tackling technique again with his defense. Some embarrassingly inept tackling in the 2nd half.
– Kyle Van Noy is a freakishly good football player at outside linebacker. BYU almost never sees athletes of his caliber. He will be playing on Sundays in a few years but I wouldn’t be surprised if he became an All-American before he leaves college.
– I thought CB Corby Eason was to blame for two horribly blown coverages that led to long pass plays for UCF but Bronco said in both cases the safety was the one who screwed up and was supposed to have deep cover. Definitely major work to be done there.

Luckily the schedule gets easier from here so there should be mostly wins going forward. But Utah State is actually looking pretty solid this year so the game next Friday night is no gimmee. Plenty of work to be done for both the offense and defense but this was a huge win for BYU against a good team. Another meltdown last night would have been horrible for the psyche of this team and their head coach.

What did you think?


  1. Good analysis. I can’t figure out what has happened to Heaps this year. Does he have a new girlfriend?

    Comment by Kent (MC) — September 24, 2011 @ 11:15 am

  2. Not a new girlfriend, Kent. A new offensive coordinator.

    Comment by Christopher — September 24, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

  3. He’s married.

    I had to mind the shop until late and we had lots of customers so I was only able to catch snippets of the first half on KSL radio. However did watch all the 4th quarter.

    Seems to me that they definitely played better and more importantly played with heart. Doman improved and wisely didn’t stay on the field. However while Heaps was better than last week he’s nowhere where he was last year. This isn’t just an issue of receivers or the O-Line. It’s Heaps and most likely what training he is getting from Doman. At a minimum they need a dedicated QB Coach.

    From what I heard and saw the Defense won the game more than the Offense. However as in past years opposing coaches have figured out the weaknesses in our Defense. Once again we have pretty big problems in the secondary. But give the Defense a lot of credit and most importantly give special teams credit.

    It wasn’t a pretty win and there were too many crucial three and outs still. We still struggle in the red zone. Many of the problems of last week are still there but at least it was more akin to the first two games rather than Utah.

    Comment by Clark — September 24, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

  4. So, are you guys ever going to address Big XII issue?

    If BYU were to turn down an offer, I don’t know if I could get over it. My fandom probably wouldn’t survive.

    Comment by Orwell — September 24, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

  5. Kent(MC),

    Well since Heaps got married this summer a new girlfriend would definitely be a huge distraction…

    Comment by Geoff J — September 24, 2011 @ 12:41 pm

  6. Orwell,

    Here is where things stand with the Big12 as far as I can tell (based on most reliable rumors):

    – There have been talks between BYU and the Big12 but no official offer yet
    – Big12 is willing to accommodate BYU’s deal breaker issue on Sunday play
    – BYU’s other deal breaker is reportedly conference stability and it appears the Big12 is working that out too
    – There is little question that if the Big12 becomes stable BYU football would be accept an invite. The WCC thing is more dicey though. I wouldn’t be surprised if football went over a year or two before the other sports.
    – BYU fans are probably miles ahead of the actual decision makers in this. The Big12 is still in critical condition so it could be some time before they stabilize enough to extend official invites. Remember, TAMU has not even officially left for the SEC yet so there are a lot of details that still need to be dealt with over there.

    I do think BYU will end up in the Big12 though. BYU is the most attractive candidate for the Big12 right now. And it would be too risky for BYU not to make that move after the Big12 stabilizes in light of the changing college football landscape and potential for the Haves to break away from the Have Nots. BYU has to be included in the Haves. Latest news is there is a plan in the Big12 to keep anyone from bailing for at least another six years so that bodes well for the stability of the conference.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 24, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  7. Does BYU have a backup quarterback that can do any better?

    Comment by Mark D. — September 24, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

  8. No

    Comment by Clark — September 24, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

  9. Geoff: Your analysis is spot on. Eason and Heaps are major issues that BYU has to address if they are going to be successful.

    Comment by Blake — September 24, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

  10. Well if Bronco was right about the safeties blowing the coverage on those two long pass plays rather than Eason then he is much less of an issue than most fans assume.

    Comment by Geoff J — September 24, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  11. BTW – I’m not convinced the schedule is easier. I think TCU will be a rough game this year. While Oregon State is struggling I don’t think they’ll be pushovers at all. The Aggies should be fun though. I honestly don’t know how that one will turn out. I’ve not been paying attention to them much.

    Comment by Clark — September 24, 2011 @ 3:27 pm

  12. TCU is the only likely loss on the future schedule even with the offense as inept as it currently is. Hawaii is going to be hard too. USU and OSU won’t roll over but they probably won’t be favored either. But clearly the upcoming schedule is easier overall than the first four games

    Comment by Geoff J — September 24, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  13. GO Cougs!

    Comment by wally bob — September 24, 2011 @ 6:29 pm

  14. It’ll be interesting playing Hawaii again. It’s been a long time and even when we were good that was always a tough game due to the combo of altitude, time zone and then the Hawaiians always giving their roughest game.

    Comment by Clark — September 24, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

  15. I predict BYU will lose to OSU, TCU, and maybe Hawaii. I think they’ll get USU. Though I think USU will give it to them by carelessness or stupidity. Other than that the schedule should be a cake walk.

    Comment by Riley — September 24, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

  16. Oregon State is a terrible team this year. BYU would have to play horribly to lose that game. But BYU will have to get better to beat TCU or Hawaii on the island I think. I give BYU about a 75% chance against this improved USU team (who completely gave away the game to Colorado State today).

    Comment by Geoff J — September 24, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

  17. Yeah I was at the USU game and it was a joke. BYU should handle them. But I still think OSU will barely beat BYU and TCU will beat them handily. But I’m a biased Ute who is struggling with the dilemma of whether he will serve God or Mammon this Saturday (do I tailgate and record the saturday sessions and just wait till Priesthood session is online or do I watch both session and skip tailgating…)

    Comment by Riley — September 26, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  18. Re: 17. There’s no dilemma. A couple of years ago there was a conflict between a BYU football game and the priesthood session. That session ended about 20 minutes early to accomodate the game. The moral I took from that evening was if the general priesthood meeting could be shortened for something like BYU football then it can be skipped entirely for something really important. And, if BYU football qualifies as important, then almost anything else is more important. Conflict solved; enjoy the game with impunity.

    Comment by Rbc — September 26, 2011 @ 8:15 pm

  19. With DVRs a lot of people time shift the game. Although normally they try (as with this week) to play the game on Friday or Thursday.

    Comment by Clark — September 27, 2011 @ 11:30 am

  20. BYU fans are probably miles ahead of the actual decision makers in this. The Big12 is still in critical condition so it could be some time before they stabilize enough to extend official invite

    That is very true. Living in Texas I get a lot of discussion about the critical condition of the Big 12 and its lack of stability right now.

    Missed the game, appreciate your recaps!

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — September 30, 2011 @ 5:48 am

  21. Have tickets for the game tonight. It better be a good one. (Honestly I like watching on TV better than sitting in the cheap seats – but you have to go to at least one game a year for that fall experience.)

    Lots of big Big-12 rumors though. (Nice overview here) Sources are basically saying that BYU will be joining the Big-12.

    Comment by Clark — September 30, 2011 @ 9:00 am

  22. Can’t believe you didn’t have anything to say! I was at the game. Fantastic. (I don’t think anyone would have rushed the field had the announcer not come on telling people over and over not to)

    Comment by Clark — October 1, 2011 @ 5:40 pm