Utah Utes quarterback Travis Wilson throws a touchdown pass (Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)
I feel like we've been here before. BYU's quarterback can't hit the broad side of a barn, but is able to scramble a bit to get a few first downs. BYU's defense is good enough to hold Utah to fewer than three touchdowns. But in the end, that quarterback's inability to hit wide-open receivers leads to a pathetic offensive showing and a loss for the Cougars.
Yes, Taysom has a stronger arm than Riley. Yes, Taysom is faster than Riley. But he is effectively Riley 2.0. BYU receivers didn't play lights out on Saturday, but there were enough times they had their man beat by two or three steps and Taysom either overthrew them by 10 yards or threw behind them. And those throws were the difference in the game.
Hill completed over 60% of admittedly limited passes last season. After the first three games of 2013, he's completed 35% of his passes, which is the lowest in all of Division 1 college football, and his quarterback rating is the second lowest. It's bad.
So here BYU fans are once again. Stuck with a starting quarterback who cannot pass. Four points to consider:
1. BYU hasn't had a quarterback improve significantly as a player since John Beck. Max Hall was largely the same guy as a sophomore as he was as a senior. Heaps regressed from his freshman to sophomore year, and Nelson was a worse quarterback for BYU than he was at Utah State. Now Taysom fits the pattern. It's disturbing.
2. I was on board the "Taysom can figure it out, given time" train for a long time. But if you can find me a quarterback who threw for under 40%, three consecutive games, and ended up being an elite passer, I'd love to hear about it. I think he's done. John Beck's worst season at BYU, when he was a freshman, he still completed 50% of his passes, and 56% as a sophomore. I recognize that Taysom is young and may improve, but I just don't believe he will ever get to where a starting QB for BYU needs to be.
3. I'd like to see what Ammon Olsen can do. Let him play against Middle Tennessee State. We know Taysom can beat this team, having him out there accomplishes nothing. If Ammon can complete throws against an FBS school, in real game time, give him a shot to earn the starting spot. If he can't, bury him forever.
4. I feel terrible for the BYU offense, and especially KVN. He wanted this game, and holding Utah to 20 points is highly acceptable considering the squad's weakness at defensive back. The offense let them down.
Finally, it's time to announce the winner of the prediction contest. While Stuart's guess was way off in its margin of victory, he was the only one to predict a Utah victory, so he wins the $20. As he requested, I have donated it to Child's Play, a charity set up to get video games to sick kids in hospitals around the world.