A Look at BYU

This post originally published last week, but bumped back to the top in case you missed it. 

The Beavers may have been a quarter and a half away from a Rose Bowl, but they've now fallen past the Holiday, past the Sun (no-repeat clause), and the Emerald to the Maaco Las Vegas Bowl, well they will play BYU, a very good opponent out of the Mountain West Conference.

Get ready for an all out air raid in this game-- it features two of the best quarterbacks in the country in Sean Canfield and Max Hall. Hall lead the MWC in passing with 280.7 yards per game, and is completing passes at a 67.5 percentage. He's the ninth most efficient passer in the country, which is interesting, because Sean Canfield ranks fourth in at statistic at exactly 70 percent.

Not only do the Cougars have a potent passing attatck with Max Hall, their running game is solid as well. They rank fourth in their conference in total passing, but their star running back, Harvey Unga, leads the conference in rushing at just over 92 yards per game. Unga is a junior, and just got over the 1,000 yard mark in BYU's most recent game against Utah, which they squaked out 26-23.  JJ Di Luigi and BryanKarlyn, both sophomore running backs, are viable backups who both average around 20 yards per game.

Max Hall's favorite target is his tight end, senior Dennis Pitta. He became BYU's all-time leader in receptions in the Cougars' win over Utah last week, and is averaging 63.8 yards per game. While he leads the receivers, he's definitely not the only target the OSU secondary will have to watch out for: Max Hall likes to spread the ball around. Five receivers average over 30 yards per game for the Cougars. Like Pitta, sophomore McKay Jacobsen averages around 60 yards per game, and he's BYU's big-play threat. He has 21 catches for 529 yards, which means he's averaging around 25 yards per catch.

While BYU's offense gets most of the credit, their defense has been a major factor in their success as well. The Cougars are best known for overpowering MWC opponents with their offense, but their defense is talented as well. Senior defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen has ten and a half tackles for loss on the season, and is fourth in the conference with six and a half sacks. The Cougar secondary has 13 interceptions on the year, four of those going to junior defensive back Andrew Rich, and 3 to JR DB Brian Logan.

Overall, the BYU defense ranks fourth in the MWC, and 35th in the nation, giving up 331 yards per game. They've been giving up 112 rushing yards pe rgame and 219 passing yards per game-- All of which are below Oregon State's season offensive averages.

This will be the first time that the Las Vegas Bowl will feature two ranked teams, and it's the fourth time in a row BYU will have played in Vegas. Oregon State's last trip was in 2003, when they defeated New Mexico 55-14 in Mike Riley's first bowl game at OSU.

BYU perspective at Vanquish The Foe.

--Jake | (jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com)

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