Monday, September 2, 2013
First Glance: Brigham Young
By Max Olson
A look at Brigham Young, the Longhorns' second opponent of the season. Texas plays on the road Saturday (6 p.m. CT, ESPN2).
Campus location: Provo, Utah
Conference: BYU is in its third year as an FBS Independent after leaving the Mountain West Conference following the 2010 season.
All-time record vs. Texas: 2-1
Last game: BYU lost a rain-drenched season opener on the road at Virginia on Saturday, 19-16. The Cougars overcame a two-hour severe weather delay in the first quarter but couldn’t mount a comeback late. Kevin Parks got the go-ahead score for Virginia on a 13-yard touchdown run with 2:36 left following a Taysom Hill interception. Hill’s Hail Mary throw to Ross Apo with time expiring was caught, but stopped 28 yards short of the goal line.
Last meeting with Texas: A nail-biter in 2011. After Texas lost Garrett Gilbert to a shoulder injury, Case McCoy and David Ash rallied the Longhorns after they’d fallen behind 13-0 in the second quarter. Cody Johnson’s 4-yard touchdown with 8:46 left ended up being the clincher in a 17-16 victory at Darrell K. Royal Stadium.
Key player: With top receiver Cody Hoffman sidelined with a pulled hamstring against Virginia, BYU running back Jamaal Williams took on the burden of carrying the Cougars' offense. He rushed for 144 yards on 33 carries Saturday, including 104 in the second half. Williams has rushed for 100-plus yards four times in his 14 career games as a Cougar, and you know Texas’ run defense will be put to the test after its consistent struggles in 2012.
Why BYU might win: Its impressive defense will have to win the day. All-America candidate linebacker Kyle Van Noy leads a BYU unit that was essentially one of the five best in the nation last year. The Cougars held UVA to 114 passing yards, 109 rushing yards and forced 13 punts. If New Mexico State could stifle the Longhorns' offense for nearly 28 minutes, you have to wonder what BYU is capable of this weekend.
Why BYU might lose: Its offense is still very much a work in progress. New offensive coordinator Robert Anae is preaching an up-tempo, physical attack, but the Cougars were doomed by costly mistakes against UVA -- highlighted by Hill’s interception, which came with less than three minutes left and BYU in front. Their line struggled, their receivers dropped passes and the dual-threat Hill was erratic, completing 13 of his 40 attempts. There’s no guarantee Hoffman will be ready to play by Saturday. Expect BYU to have serious trouble keeping up in a shootout if David Ash and Texas get rolling the way they did against NMSU.