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October 2, 2012
The Cougars Rolled Over Hawaii as the Ground Game and Defense Dominated
Bronco has two loves in his life on the offensive side of the ball. Establishing the run, and everything Riley. In BYU's 47-0 domination of Hawaii Taysom Hill sparked the running game flame deep in Bronco's heart, but we all know that football is fifth, and love of Riley comes in somewhere first through fourth.
Taysom Hill is a guaranteed 100 yard rusher a game. This was Hawaii, and they struggle more at defending the run than just about anybody in the country, but 72 yards rushing in a quarter and a half against Boise State is further evidence that 100 yards for Taysom Hill is attainable against just about any defense. If this run to pass ratio were to continue Taysom would become the leading rusher in BYU history by the time he finished his Junior season. And he isn't the only reason that BYU was able to rack up almost 400 yards rushing on Friday night.
Hawaii is bad, but this BYU running game has definitely turned a corner from when they ran for just 123 yards against Washington State and had to go to the air to score points against Weber State. The big fellas up front were opening holes and were really getting downfield to make blocks. Coach Weber made a great move by rearranging that offensive line. I knew that some holes would be opened but based on the number of tackles for a loss that Hawaii made against Nevada I was expecting to see their defensive linemen in the BYU backfield pretty frequently. I can't recall a single tackle for a loss outside of the couple of sacks given up. Very impressed with how the offensive line performed on Friday.
How impressive is the depth at running back this year? This team has five running backs that I feel are better ball carriers than any of the three running backs that started at the top of the depth chart last year. Alisa had two really impressive carries before he left the game with a fractured forearm, he is so hard to bring down and such a good athlete he'll retain his starting job when he comes back from this injury. Before fall camp started an injury to Michael Alisa would have appeared to be devastating to this BYU offenses ability to run the ball. Not the case. One of the most impressive things about Jamaal Williams is how powerful he is at only 190-pounds. He is hard to bring down, and he carries so much power in his quads that he maintains his balance and can stay on his feet despite taking a hit. He's also hard for tacklers to get a clean hit on him because of his quickness and agility. It would have been nice for Alisa to get a chance to enjoy a field day against a defense like Hawaii, but this was very valuable experience for Williams before he faces a tough Utah State defense this Friday. Foote ran really well, he would start on a lot of teams in the Mountain West. Paul Lasike is a really good short yardage runner. He is so fast for his size, and he accelerates so quickly out of his stance I would be surprised if he ever actually gets tackled behind the line of scrimmage. Anytime BYU needs 3 yards my vote goes to him to get the carry out of this group of running backs. He even has enough speed to run outside the tackles, although that isn't necessarily his forte.
Anytime BYU needs any amount of yards my vote is certainly to just put the ball in Taysom's hands. Give him the option to run or pass, and chances are that he will get the yards needed. I loved it when the play call was a bubble screen, the Hawaii OLB made a great play by anticipating the call and getting out in the passing lane, and Taysom just ran right through the hole that was now there because the OLB was 3 yards deep in the backfield. Or the 3rd and 19 where Taysom rolls out of the pocket, can't find an open man, and runs for 21 yards while making a DB miss to get the first down. He did a great job early on of making the simple read and delivering the ball on quick routes, they were open and he was quick to take what the defense gave him. I liked how Doman progressed to intermediate and deep routes as BYU built a lead to give Taysom some more experience making the more difficult throws. Taysom once again underthrew the first fade route of the game, but finally got a feel for the distance as he got enough distance on the second one; there was just great coverage on the play. Taysom also underthrew the dreaded deep out, the same route that Riley got picked off on when he underthrew it against Boise State. The receiver was open again, Taysom just didn't put enough air under it. The difference for me is that I'm sure that Taysom can make that throw, I'm not so sure that Riley is physically capable of making that throw. It wasn't as good of a passing day for Taysom as I anticipated, but it certainly got the job done and he gained some valuable experience, especially as he tried to target Hoffman.
Edwards (#1) looked to me to be the best cornerback that BYU has faced thus far this season. He was with Hoffman every step of the way, every time Hoffman was targeted. It is incredible to me that Hawaii has such a good cornerback and still manages to have such a bad defense. The Jets ride Revis to one of the better defenses in the NFL, and Hawaii has one of the best cornerbacks in the MWC and they can't keep anybody under 45 points? There has to be a way for them to better utilize his talents. Hoffman looked frustrated to me, it was probably a combination of BYU only passing for 102.5 yards per game the last two games, having to adjust to a new quarterback, and how difficult it was to get open with Edwards covering him. It was good to see Apo and Mahina both get touchdown passes with all of the injury problems they've both experienced recently. Falslev had a good game, with how weak Hawaii's pass defense was over the middle he really thrived, along with everybody else who spent any time going across the middle of the field. Catching the ball out of the backfield did prove to be effective, Zed's run after catch on his first catch was impressive, Williams had a big gain off of a catch and Lasike also had a really nice run after catch.
BYU's defense is so legitimate. Hawaii's defense is bad, but their offense is respectable. And this wasn't the kind of shut out where the opposing team had no kicker and had a touchdown or bust mentality every time they got into the red zone. This was the kind of shut out where Hawaii never once got into the red zone. Hawaii only got into BYU territory three times all game. Once to the 49, another to the 43, and in the 4th quarter they got to the BYU 28 yard line on a bogus roughing the passer call on Remington Peck. Had they attempted a field goal on that drive that would have been a 45 yard attempt, in their only chance to score all game. Incredible. Preston Hadley was Independent defensive player of the week with his 2 pass deflections, 6 tackles and a forced fumble on a sack. Van Noy was incredible, him and Ansah were in the quarterback's face all game. Ansah made some nice tackles stuffing the run as well. Ogletree had a good game, him and Sorenson are just violent on the football field. It's really hard to adjust to an overthrown ball like Sorenson did on his interception. He started at one angle playing the receiver then had to adjust to play the overthrown ball and make the over-the-shoulder catch, pretty impressive. Riley Stephenson is punting out of his mind, which certainly doesn't hurt the defense. He is accurate in placing his punts near the sideline, he gets great distance, and pinned Hawaii within the 20 once again. We won't talk about his extra point kicking.
There was never a question of whether or not BYU would beat Hawaii. The question was by how much, and how many points would this BYU offense be able to tally. There also wasn't a question of whether or not Taysom would play well enough to dethrone Riley. Not even Bronco's love for establishing the run could overcome his overwhelming fan-dom of Riley.
Follow me on twitter: @lancewarchibald