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PROVO – In the season opener at Nebraska with 90,000 screaming-mad Husker fans, the BYU offensive line didn't give up a single false start penalty and committed few other penalties despite a change in the play calling as Tanner Mangum replaced Taysom Hill at quarterback.
But that was last week, and Saturday's game against Boise State at 8:15 p.m. MT at LaVell Edwards Stadium presents an entirely new set of challenges. The Cougars can't rest on one game — win or lose — offensive lineman Kyle Johnson said.
"We were super excited, happy about it, but we came back Monday and coaches said 'that's in the past,'" Johnson said. "We've got to move on to Boise State; they (Boise) don't care that we won that game. They're just going to come out and play. We need to do the same."
For Johnson, returning freshman All-American center Tejan Koroma and the rest of the line, the Boise State front-seven may present a greater challenge than Nebraska and its usual ground-and-pound, physical defense.
The 20th-ranked Broncos (1-0) held Washington to 13 points in their season opener last Friday, led by defensive end Kamalei Correa — the Boise-labeled "sack artist" who had six tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack against the Huskies.
The Huskers were big. But keeping a player like Correa, who was named to watch lists for the Chuck Bednarik, Bronko Nagurski and Rotary Lombardy awards in the preseason, off Mangum will present a new challenge — or one that BYU saw a year ago, depending on who you ask.
"It's (the Bronco defense) experienced. As far as the front seven, they are a lot of the same guys from last year," said Johnson, who compared the Boise linebackers to BYU's own in blitz packages and movement. "For us who played Boise last year, we know what is coming. The D-linemen and front-seven guys know a lot, and they've played a lot."
Tanner Vallejo anchors the Boise linebacker corps, making a team-high seven tackles a week ago and forcing a fumble to help keep the Broncos in front of Washington despite not scoring a touchdown in the second half.
The Broncos also held Washington to 179 yards of total offense, 12 first downs, and held possession for nearly 10 minutes more than the Huskies.
Interrupting that flow will be vital for the BYU line tasked with protecting a quarterback making his first collegiate start against a team for which he grew up cheering.
"I think they are every bit as good (as Nebraska)," BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae said. "There hasn't been one (weakness) that I've seen.
"They're solid, they're sound, they run to the ball and tackle well. They had an impressive opener. We look forward to a challenge, exciting game in our stadium."