Monday, October 1, 2012

BYU Tramples the Hawaii Warriors & Looks to Utah State

47 to 0 shutout. Nice work, boys. Too bad we can't take 4 of those points and add them to the Utah game, add 2 points to the Boise State game, and just for good measure, give ourselves a 40 point head start on Utah State. Then we'd still beat Hawaii by 1 . . . and a win is a win, right? :) Oh well.

That Hawaii game was really a bloodbath. Seven minutes into the game, we'd already sent two Hawaii players to the hospital on stretchers, Michael Alisa broke his arm (and is probably out for the rest of the season, dagnabbit!), and somehow I sprained my ankle. Not sure how it happened since I was just a spectator minding my own business up in the stands, but somehow I'm inclined to blame Ziggy Ansah. haha.

Once again, I'm very impressed with the defense. They've now gone 9 consecutive quarters without allowing any points. If they can keep that up, we'll be in pretty good shape. I'm also impressed with our new freshmen stars, Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams. Taysom became the first true freshman quarterback at BYU to win his first starting game (and did it in impressive fashion, I might add), while 17-year-old Jamaal Williams ran for an impressive 155 yards after Alisa went down. He may not be old enough to vote for president, but I'd vote for him in almost any third down situation. A re-vamped offensive line also gave the Cougs a breath of fresh air and a little bit of hope that this season may not be a complete waste after all.

My favorite moment of the game by far was Taysom's 68-yard TD run. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw him sprint past all the defenders. Dang, that kid can run! He racked up 143 rushing yards total. For a quarterback--a FRESHMAN quarterback, no less--that's insane!

I'm still worried about Utah State . . . but not quite as worried as I was before. My main concern right now comes down to Riley Nelson's injury and whether his adrenaline and passion will overpower his head and his pain medication and cause him to insist he is ok to play, even if he isn't. With Utah State, Riley's got something to prove. He wants to play in that game BADLY, but I'm not sure if the coaches should let him.

Utah State HATES Riley Nelson with a passion, primarily because he played his freshman year there, but then transferred to BYU while he was on his mission (that would be essentially the equivalent of someone transferring to Utah from BYU-- the ultimate act of betrayal in their eyes). If he goes into the game on Friday night, the Aggie defense is going to do all that's in their power to hit him where it hurts (in the back). They will play dirty. I'd bet their main goal (possibly even above winning the game) would be to send Riley to the hospital and give him a season- and career-ending injury. They consider him a traitor and would probably love to see nothing more. I still can't figure out why the Aggies hate BYU so much (News flash to USU: BYU doesn't consider you a rival. We don't care about you at all.), but of all the Cougars, they probably hate Riley the most.

So, here's my suggestion. Let Taysom start. See if he can get into a rhythm and put some points on the board. Then, if we have at least a slightly comfortable lead at halftime (or if Taysom isn't playing up to par) put Riley in for a few snaps. If he's able to play and does well, keep him in for awhile, maybe the full 3rd quarter. Then, depending on the score, put either Taysom or James Lark in for the 4th quarter. However, if the game is really close at the half or if we're behind and Taysom is playing well, I think we need to leave Taysom in. It's just not worth the risk. Sorry, Riley. I think you're amazing, but trust me-- I know how tempting it is to test a back injury and think you can do more than you really can-- but you don't want to regret it later. It's not worth it.

The USU game could go either way. A few weeks ago, I really believed BYU would get crushed, but now I'm seeing a possible light at the end of the tunnel. I think the game being in Provo will be a huge help, and the Hawaii game was great practice for the O-line, defense, and Taysom. I think they've got the adrenaline and the motivation to put up a really good fight. I predict a close game (decided by a touchdown or less)-- we'll just have to wait and see who comes out on top.

The striped stadium actually didn't look too bad! Nice job, Cougar fans!

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