BYU Football: Previewing the Washington Offense
Last year, after an emotional win BYU Football was embarrassed against Washington.
Believe it or not, BYU Football is two plays away from being 0-3 right now. That is the fun and beauty of sports. Two different plays would have resulted in fans screaming for Sitake's job, LES would likely have had it's lowest attendance since Crowton, and this website may perhaps not have enough support to stay alive.
But because of two plays all of those things are not happening. Sitake is probably one big win away from an extension, the stadium may see its first sellout in a few years, and BlueBrigham.com is doing well.
Last year, the Cougars went in and shocked then No. 6 Wisconsin before playing Washington. They were nearly were shut out, and would have been if not for a late muffed punt by the Huskies that led to a touchdown in the closing seconds of the game.
This season, similar to last year, the Cougars are coming off an emotional win over a Top 25 team before playing the Huskies. This team is different, and we can only hope that the result will be as well. Here is the preview of the Huskies offense.
General Team Notes
Head Coach: Chris Peterson (49-22)
Notable Wins: Hawaii (52-20)
Notable Losses: California (21-20)
All Time Record vs BYU: 6-4
Although the two teams are relatively close in proximity, and were really good during the same era, the two teams have only met on the field ten times, with three of the games being in the last decade.
Previewing the Offense
The offense shouldn't struggle to put up points, the only question is whether they will be touchdowns or field goals. Washington was able to put up 20 points against one of the best pass defenses in the country, California. While that may not sound great, Cal's pass defense is probably much better than BYU's. The Huskies are led by transfer quarterback Jacob Eason who has already thrown for 773 yards this season all while not playing much during the second half of two of the games this season. Although the pass game is very strong for this team, they are a bit more balanced than last year. Combined, this season they have 576 yards on the ground and 792 through the air. This is the kind of the team that if one part of the offense is not working, they could potentially be good enough to still win with the other.
What BYU has to do
Jacob Eason is more mature than Kedon Slovis meaning he probably won't be as rattled or make as many mistakes as Slovis did when the crowd got loud and there was adversity. The running game is also better than USC's meaning that the Cougars won't be able to drop eight back into coverage as often. However, I think they should still stick close to what they did against USC and make adjustments from there. Ultimately, BYU needs to limit the possessions that Washington has, and if that means allowing the Huskies to pick up yards on the ground sobeit. There will be penalties, dropped passes and bad runs that will end drives early even if the ground game is working well.
The BYU defense has shown it is able to play excellent defense in the red zone and that honestly may be the game plan. Let the Huskies work hard and get inside the 30 before the field becomes shorter and the Cougars can then afford to have five in the box and slow down the run. Washington's defense (with nine starters gone from 2018) probably won't be able to beat BYU in a game of Washington only kicking field goals while using clock.
Washington is going to control the clock for quite a bit of this game. BYU is going to let the Huskies get first downs on the ground but it will keep the clock running. Once the field gets shorter however, BYU is going to get stops, like they have all season, and force Washington to kick field goals. While some drives will go for touchdowns, I'm predicting there will be five field goal attempts by Washington in this game. While Washington's kicker is good, he is only 9/14 on kicks longer than 30 yards during his career, and 2/5 from 40 yards or longer, something that can favor the Cougars.
There will also be a few turnovers with how hard the secondary players will be hitting the running backs, as well as how tight the balls will have to be from Eason to be completed. With eight players back so often, any mistake will result in interceptions. As long as BYU can keep their offense on the field long enough for the defense to rest, despite Washington's time of possession, the Cougars will control the game and the pace.