31 August 2012

Now that's a home opener

Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo

I'm mentioned this a few times before, but the 2011 Utah game really shell-shocked me, and most of the fanbase, I'd reckon. To have the first game at LaVell Edwards Stadium end in a completely blowout against your rival was pretty disheartening. While Washington State is no Utah, experiencing a 30-6 win over a team with some buzz behind it during the preseason is still nice.

My thoughts:

1. The new replay boards are great. Very nice upgrade; good size and quality.

2. Whoever was running the replay boards was terrible last night. Super slow-motion replays that couldn't be finished before the next play started, skipping a lot of crucial replays entirely, messing up on the down and yardage display. It was bad.

3. I liked Washington State's QB. Tall, did a good job escaping BYU's pressure while keeping his eyes downfield. Sure, none of his work translated into touchdowns, and he benefited a lot from massive holding by his offensive line, but I like him anyway.

4. Riley has improved. He was hitting some fairly difficult passes with ease last night, and while his receivers made some great plays on the ball to help him out, the end results were completions. He's got to settle down on the running, though. He rushed 12 times for 18 yards, got popped more than once, and none of those rushing attempts were sacks. These were just times he decided to take off and failed.

5. The hurry-up worked really well. Washington State seemed confused by it and Riley was making quick reads to move the chains.

6. Kaneakua Friel was amazing. Where did we get a big, strong tight end with good hands? Last season it seems like BYU had 5 tight ends, all tall and skinny without exceptionally good speed or hands. Friel ended with 101 yards receiving and two touchdowns, one of which he punctuated by running over a Washington State defensive back to get to the endzone.

7. For the defense to keep a Mike Leach offense out of the endzone entirely was impressive. I know it was his first game and he was using someone else's recruits, but the scheme alone can be confusing and I felt like BYU's defense did a great job sniffing out screens and managing the misdirection plays. Holding the Wazzu rushing attack to -5 yards was a nice bonus. Van Noy (two sacks) was in beast mode as always, and Kaveinga's pick was awesome. Jordan Johnson highlighted a legit secondary in my eyes. These guys are fast, hit hard and wrap up well most of the time.

8. The offense has got to punch in scores from the 10. I don't know what happened in the second half, but faced with several excellent opportunities to score touchdowns, Riley and Co. came away with field goals. Against Washington State it doesn't really matter, but against Utah or Georgia Tech it may be the difference between a win and a loss.

9. Taysom Hill looked great on his touchdown throw. He clearly had an open lane to run for a first down, but instead he kept his head up and decided to just throw a touchdown pass instead. If he's the future of BYU quarterbacking, I approve.

10. I liked how the offense spread the ball around. Seven guys caught passes and six players recording rushes, not including Riley. Maybe that was a function of Hoffman sitting most of the game with a quad contusion, but if opposing defenses have to worry about any number of guys getting the ball, it makes their job that much harder.

In all, a good win against what I hope is a decent team. Let's clean up the red zone worries and be ready for Utah in two weeks.

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