GAME PREVIEW: (19) BYU vs. Colorado State

GAME PREVIEW: (19) BYU vs. Colorado State

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PROVO -- The No. 19 ranked BYU Cougars went into Saturday's contest against Florida State riding high. Ranked seventh in the country after beating Oklahoma and Tulane, the Cougars were looking to improve their BCS resume with a win over the Seminoles, but instead the Cougars got behind early, repeatedly shot themselves in the foot and ultimately blew a great opportunity to make a statement.

Now the Cougars host a confident, streaking Colorado State team anxious to make a statement of their own.

The Rams are undefeated this season and poised to give BYU a run for its money. They are looking for payback after last year's 45-42 heartbreaking defeat in Fort Collins, Colo.

But this group of Cougars is a resilient bunch and you can bet the mistakes that plagued the Cougars against FSU were addressed in practice and that execution on the field will be a top priority against CSU.

While the BCS may no longer be on BYU's radar and the Cougars have had to adjust their focus, the season is far from lost. The Cougars have a lot to gain with a win over the Rams... starting with a renewed confidence.

KSL takes a look back and a look ahead as we prep for game day.

What did we learn about BYU versus Florida State?

  • The Cougars struggle when they're playing catch-up
  • The Seminoles didn't stop BYU; the Cougars stopped themselves with five careless turnovers.
  • The Cougar defense struggled to make a dent at the point of attack.

What questions do we have about BYU?

  • Which defense is for real? The dominate group we saw against OU and Tulane or the ineffective bunch we saw against Florida State?
  • Can BYU avoid the turnover bug (10 turnovers in three games; -4 in turnover margin)
  • Can the Cougars play effectively from behind?
  • Will the players and coaches regain the confidence they had before facing the Seminoles?

What can BYU expect from Colorado State?

  • A unified group led by a confident coach (3-0 in 2009 and six-game winning streak dating back to 2008)
  • A power run game and plenty of play-action
  • Lots of throws over the top. (WRs Rashaun Greer and Dion Morton combined for 11 catches, 193 yards and three touchdowns against BYU in 2008. This season Morton has also thrown two touchdown passes)
  • A ball-hawking, opportunistic defense (10 turnovers in three games; 2nd nationally in turnover margin)

What can we expect from BYU versus Colorado State?

  • A re-commitment to the fundamentals and basic execution
  • A hungry group of Cougars looking to put last week behind it
  • A increasingly steady workload for Harvey Unga (avg. 8.8 yards per carry) as the Cougars emphasize a balanced offensive attack
  • Max Hall to have another 300-yard passing game (With four consecutive 300-yard passing games Hall is tied for the MWC record)


  • BYU has been in the Top 25 for a league-leading 24 consecutive weeks.
  • Since the start of the 2007 season, BYU has lost only six games, but in those six losses, BYU has turned the ball over 25 times, to only six for the opposition.
  • Dating back to the start of the Bronco Mendenhall era, BYU has 41 turnovers in 14 losses, compared to only 15 for the opposition.
  • In Max Hall's six losses, he has thrown 14 interceptions.
  • The Rams are tied for second in turnover margin (+7) nationally; BYU is tied for 104th (-4). [CLICK HERE to read more about BYU's turnover issues]
  • Against Florida State, BYU ran for 100+ yards, threw for 365, average nine yards a play, made 50% of its third-down conversions, and punted only once with no kicking errors and only three penalties, but still lost by 26 points.
  • The last time BYU suffered three sequential regular season losses by 24 points or more: 1955, when BYU lost three consecutive games by 47-21 (Utah State), 49-6 (Idaho), and 35-0 (Colorado A&M) scores.
  • The last time BYU suffered three sequential regular season losses by 24 points or more: 1955, when BYU lost three consecutive games by 47-21 (Utah State), 49-6 (Idaho), and 35-0 (Colorado A&M) scores.
  • BYU has allowed 30 points or more in six of its last 10 games. In the preceding 32 contests, the Cougars allowed 30 or more only twice.
  • The last time the Cougars were outscored in all four quarters of a game (as they were against FSU) was in 2003, when Colorado State won 58-13 in Provo (CSU's last win against BYU).
  • Among MWC teams, only BYU and New Mexico have failed to score at least one first-quarter touchdown.
  • BYU and New Mexico are also the only two MWC teams to have failed to score a touchdown on at least one opening drive (BYU has a missed field goal, a made field goal and a fumble on its three opening drives).
  • Colorado State has outscored its opposition 38-0 in the first quarter, with touchdowns on two of three opening drives.
  • The Rams have lost seven consecutive games to ranked teams, and is 1-9 in its last ten games against Top 25 teams.
  • CSU has the nation's seventh-longest win streak at six games. Conclusion: Competing win streaks will collide at LaVell Edwards Stadium this Saturday; Colorado State has won six straight games dating back to 2008, while BYU has beaten CSU in five straight games and looks to protect its 12-game conference home winning streak. The two teams staged a wild back-and-forth affair last year in Fort Collins. and a similar style of game would not be surprising. BYU should have the edge as senior QB Max Hall matches up with first-year starter Grant Stucker. This game will show how much of a wake-up call last Saturday's setback really was. Simply put, BCS dreams have been replaced by a 'one-game-at-a-time" approach.
    \#19 BYUColorado State Edge
    Passing Offense
    \#7 NCAA 338.3 YPG
    \#68 NCAA 213.7 YPG
    Rushing Offense
    \#88 NCAA 114.0 YPG
    \#72 NCAA 136.7 YPG
    Total Offense
    \#20 NCAA 452.3 YPG
    \#76 NCAA 350.3 YPG
    Scoring Offense
    \#39 NCAA 32.0 PPG
    \#62 NCAA 27.3 YPG
    Rush Defense
    \#80 NCAA 156 YPG
    \#24 NCAA 85.3 YPG
    Pass Defense
    \#20 NCAA 157.0 YPG
    \#88 NCAA 243.7 YPG
    Total Defense
    \#43 NCAA 313.0 YPG
    \#51 NCAA 329.0 YPG
    Scoring Defense
    \#71 NCAA 23.3 PPG
    \#48 NCAA 20.0 PPG
    Special Teams
    Strength- - - - - - Net Punting \#22 NCAA
    Strength- - - - - - Kickoff Returns \#26 NCAA

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