Monday, September 20, 2010

BYU Loses to Florida State 34-10

It seems that the BYU Cougars still have much to work on for the 2010 season before they impress anybody.  I do not think there was that high of expectations for the young Cougar squad, considering the massive loss of veteran players they experienced, which included their Quarterback, Running Back, Tight End, and almost all of their defensive front.  So to see growing pains should not be a shocker to anybody.

The Cougars almost did themselves a disservice opening up the season with such a well executed game against Washington, which many felt was going to be a sure loss.  The team looked sound, precise, and well executed, which even surprised Coach Bronco Mendenhall.

However, the team quickly returned to earth for the Air Force and Florida State games, showing that indeed the lack of experience is taking its toll.

As stated beforehand, Riley Nelson started the game only to go three and out on the first possession.  Following a strong defensive stand, Jake Heaps took the reins and was able to slightly move the ball, but failed to convert the drive to points.  From there, Nelson once again returned to the game, which made many wonder if we were going to see yet another game of every other series reps, which has not been a popular strategy thus far.  However, following Nelson's second drive which resulted in an interception, Heaps took the field and solely remained on the field for the rest of the game.

Though Heaps did not shock the world and Cougar fans with a game winning, perfect performance, I believe a good, solid step forward was taken.  During the last two minutes of the second quarter, we saw a glimpse of what could very well be the Cougar offense very soon.    To end the half, Jake Heaps was able to lead the Cougar offense down the field for over 70 yards to score a touchdown.  The touchdown marked the first official collegiate touchdown for both Jake Heaps and Cody Hoffman, in which Heaps through a bullet to Hoffman on a crossing route.  At half, the score was 13-10, with FSU on top.

Going into the second half, many would think momentum would have been in BYU's favor, having just scored and receiving the ball.  However, failure to move the ball and big offensive plays on the part of FSU quickly squelched any momentum BYU might of had.  In fact, by the fourth quarter, it looked as though many of the defensive players were playing at 70%.

Sure, the Cougars suffered another bad loss.  However, this game looked a lot different from Air Force.  Throughout the entire AF game, there seemed to be no chemistry, no momentum and no answer for anything.

During FSU, we saw many good things.  The defense looked great at times, when execution was sound.  The offensive showed that they can move the ball when momentum and rhythm is present.  In the end, the team just lacked consistency and endurance to get the win.  This is expected for the first few games of a young team.

Now on to the QB saga.  Looking purely at statistics, many would argue that Jake did not prove anything more than Riley did against AF.  Total offense was actually lower for the FSU game.  So, which QB is the deserving starter.

Sure the numbers don't say much, but watching the games do.  It is very clear, that most potential for success lies with Heaps taking most of the snaps from here on out.  I definitely feel that Riley could be a contributor to the offensive in some fashion, however, not as the starting QB.  Heaps showed that he can move the ball, make critical plays, and keep composure in a very, very unstable, harsh environment.  What a way to kick off the season, by getting your first (almost full) game in the hot, humid stadium of Florida State.  It wasn't always pretty, but what we did see was a kid that can lead this team and learn and grow into a great quarterback.

Bronco remained pretty quiet about the whole QB situation (as he usually does), but did say he was impressed how Heaps handled himself despite the hostile situation.  He has not yet announced his decision for who will be the started for the next game.

BYU does get to return home for the game this Saturday, but by no means does this guarantee a victory.

In fact, BYU is not even the favorite.

BYU faces a very strong Nevada team, who is now 3-0 and crushed Cal this weekend to show just why they deserve to be a Top 25 team.  They just missed the list, coming in 26th, but they rank 3rd in offensive production.

The BYU defense will be faced with yet another very talented quarterback who is capable of hurting you in many different ways.  In fact, Nevada's quarterback may be the best that BYU has faced thus far.  Hopefully, being at home will reignite the youth of this team and regain some of that composure we saw in game 1.


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