PROVO -- For the first time in the series between No. 7 BYU and Florida State, the Cougars feel they have the athleticism to stay with the speed of the Seminoles.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall told Greg Wrubell during the "Bronco Mendenhall Show" that he doesn't think BYU will "see a faster team than the one we've already seen (Oklahoma)," but that execution, precision and collective effort are the "antidote" to Florida State's speed.
After beating then No. 3 Oklahoma and manhandling Tulane the Cougars enter this contest confident. BYU has experience, talent and playmakers on both sides of the ball. Questions still remain, especially in the kicking game, but nothing this group cannot overcome.
The Cougars need to come out strong against the Seminoles, neutralize their speed, take advantage of game-changing opportunities and limit Florida State's changes by avoiding turnovers and penalties.
This BYU team appears better than this Florida State team, now the Cougars need to prove it on the field.
KSL takes a look back and a look ahead as we prep for game day.
What did we learn about BYU versus Tulane?
- This BYU team may not be susceptible to the letdowns that plagued last year's team at the end of the season
- BYU appears deep and capable in the backfield
- BYU is capable of making effective adjustments and showcased a quick-strike ability
- There is a lot of talent on defense. Notably, BYU didn't skip a beat when FS Scott Johnson (Tulane) and MLB Matt Bauman (Oklahoma) left games with injuries.
What questions do we have about BYU?
- After a cameo against Tulane, how much and how well with Harvey Unga perform?
- How does BYU answer Florida State's pressure-based man-coverage defensive schemes?
- Will the kicking game rebound after two shaky performances?
What can BYU expect from Florida State?
- Speed. Seminoles are not big, but they are really, really fast.
- Proficient passing attack. Junior QB Christian Ponder can give Max Hall a run for his money
- Seminoles will tire in the altitude and heat
What can we expect from BYU versus Florida State?
- Quick release throws and draws to neutralize the ‘Noles aggressiveness up front
- Expect freshman K/P Riley Stephenson to continue with kickoff after replacing junior Mitch Payne last week
- BYU to feed off the energy of a sold-out home-opening crowd
- BYU has lost both previous meetings against Florida St. (44-28 in 1991, 29-3 in 2000). Both games were played on neutral fields.
- BYU has now won seven consecutive regular season non-conference games, since losing at Tulsa in 2007. The BYU record is 15, set from 1978 through 1981.
- BYU has an 18-game home win streak dating back to the last home game 2005 when the Cougars lost to Utah.
- If BYU beats Florida State, the Cougars will open 3-0 for a second consecutive year. The last time BYU had back-to-back 3-0 starts? 1951 and 1952.
- In two of the last three seasons, BYU's average home scoring margin has topped 30 points per game--+35.16 in 2006, and +30.16 in 2008. Since 1964, BYU has only had five seasons of 30-plus point average home margins, and two of those five have happened in the last three years.
- BYU is fifth nationally in time of possession, but is only 38th in points per game
- The Cougars are 32nd in scoring offense, 12th in scoring defense
- The Cougar defense has only allowed 16 total points through the first two games of the season. The last time BYU opened with fewer points allowed through two games: 1977, when BYU opened with a 39-0 win over Kansas State, followed by a 65-6 shellacking of Utah State.
- Bobby Bowden has 383 career wins, two shy of tying Joe Paterno's all-time lead. Mendenhall is 343 wins behind Bowden (40-13).
Florida State is one play away from coming to Provo as a Top-20 team. The Cougars cannot and will not take the Seminoles for granted. A resounding victory would send a strong national statement that should secure the Cougars reputation as long as they continue to win. If BYU gets past Florida State the next significant hurdle on the Cougars' schedule would appear to be TCU on October 24 in LaVell Edwards Stadium.