06 November 2013

It's Taysom Time

M.P. KING — Wisconsin State Journal archives

How about that Boise State game, huh? BYU's offense looked nigh unstoppable in the first half, and then sort of fell apart in the third and fourth quarter. This is a pattern that's becoming a concern. I'd like to see an uptick in production after halftime, but maybe that's asking too much.

Anyway, Taysom further showed that he can consistently hit people in stride downfield, a skill BYU has been missing in its quarterbacks for far too long. The offensive line even looked fairly competent, giving him upwards of four seconds to throw sometimes. Amazing.

In the end, it was a convincing win over a pretty good team. Nice work, guys.

Next up, the Wisconsin Badgers. A perennially good, never championship-level team. Their finishes over the last five years have been between 8-5 and 11-2. This year they are 6-2, and have already lost to Arizona State (on a controversial call) and Ohio State. These are not losses to be ashamed of, but they show this Badger team can be beat.

Wisconsin relies heavily on their massive offensive line and two star running backs. The O-line average over 6'4 and 300 pounds across the board, and back Melvin Gordon is averging 8.7 yards per carry on 124 touches. That's insane. That's Luke Staley-level running insane. And to add to that, Badger James White is averaging 6.3 yards a carry on his 127 attempts. Just thinking about this, combined with memories of BYU at Notre Dame 2012, gives me nightmares. The Irish racked up almost 300 yards on the ground at over 6 yards per carry, and passed the ball three times in the second half.

If Wisconsin gets a lead on Saturday, I fear BYU will get a steady diet of run, run, run, and suddenly the game will be over. BYU needs Taysom to open the game up early. They need him to find Matthews or Hoffman or Apo on a few deep balls, score quickly in the first quarter, and then score quickly again. If they can force Wisconsin to panic a bit, to come away from the power run game, I like the Cougars' chances.

But if the offense comes out sluggish after the bye, and stalls early and often, it's going to be rough to get the ball back often.

That said, I believe in Taysom. I know I was really down on him after the Utah game, but in fairness, he was historically, epically bad through three games this year. Then a miracle happened, and he figured out how to put touch on the football. I can't explain it. No one can. I'm just happy it happened.

But back to the Wisconsin game. Taysom will be rushed and hurried and have two seconds to find an open guy and get rid of the ball. But with how he showed his ability to use the tight ends against Boise, he's going to be really unpredictable to defenses from now one. He can go deep, middle, dump it short to Jamaal, find crossing routes and fades. And if you worry too much about his arm, he'll take off and pick up 20 yards on the ground. An absolute nightmare to handle.

I'm more worried about being on the road against a decent BCS team. BYU just historically does not win those games. And Wisconsin is 43-4 at home since 2004, a ridiculous number that really makes you pause.

That said, games are not won on the backs of history. BYU can go into Camp Randall and win. Wisconsin can lose a home game in November. Taysom can get the biggest win a sophomore BYU quarterback has ever had.

I believe!

BYU 34, Wisconsin 24

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