BYU Cougars at UCF Golden Knights Game Day

  • coleryan

Forums College Football BYU Cougars at UCF Golden Knights Game Day

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  • #187230

    coleryan
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    The BYU Cougars will try to rebound after an ugly loss when they take on the UCF Golden Knights on a short week.
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    Good Luck this week!
    Cole (cool)

    #187231

    stormy1114
    Member

    Byu strong team and qb that can run. byu is the play

    #187232

    coleryan
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    It was a close call for the reigning American Athletic Conference champions, who held off a potential game-winning touchdown run from Houston on the road 17-12 last week. As the team prepares for another ESPN broadcast game against BYU Thursday night, we’ll take a look at the three biggest questions surrounding UCF so far.

    1. How quickly can the offense mature?

    Sure, there are 21 seniors on the Knights’ roster, but several of the key positions on offense are occupied by inexperienced players. They play key roles in the three biggest areas where UCF needs to improve: run, pass and protection.

    Running back Will Stanback got his first career 100-yard rushing game against B-CU, but he didn’t start against Houston because UCF coach George O’Leary said he didn’t have a good string of practices. After several lineup changes, the offensive line has a consistent five-man front. But three of those five players are new starters, including one true freshman in right tackle Chavis Dickey. And coaches need sophomore quarterback Justin Holman to mature quickly. As good as the Knights’ defense played against Houston, the team still needs to find a way to move the ball in the endzone and a big part of that comes down to Holman’s progress in his check downs and third down conversions.

    2. How can UCF decrease penalties?

    O’Leary built a reputation for coaching disciplined teams that commit few penalties, but that hasn’t been the case this season. The Knights have 30 penalties through four games this year – that’s almost half the 62 total penalties for the 2013 season. These errors were costly last week when two of the team’s 10 penalties against Houston resulted in field goals for the opponent. Demetrius Anderson pulled a Houston player’s facemask after the play was already over in a third-and-20 situation at the end of the third quarter. Sophomore cornerback Jacoby Glenn also was hit with a retaliation personal foul penalty. O’Leary said he’s talked with the team and specific players about their undisciplined play. UCF can’t continue to have plays like these as the season progresses.

    “That’s just not very smart football,” O’Leary said. “You can’t do that stuff especially when you’re coming out the field three and out.”

    3. How durable will UCF’s defense be?

    Last year, the Knights’ offense bailed the team out of games. This year, it’s the exact opposite. UCF’s defense has proven to be tenacious, particularly in the red zone. While the team is still working to improve caging, coaches have seen vast improvement in tackling techniques and the pass rush. UCF entered the week with the No. 1 run defense in the conference and that showed last week as senior free safety Brandon Alexander forced a fumble on the 1-yard line as Houston’s quarterback attempted a game-winning touchdown run with less than 30 seconds left. While the defense is strong, the offense must score points to help keep the unit rested. The Penn State and Missouri losses came in large part because a depleted defense that saw too much time on the field.

    UCF (2-2 overall, 1-0 conference) hosts BYU (4-1) at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Bright House Networks Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

    #187233

    coleryan
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    With Taysom Hill done for the season, BYU no longer has the luxury of starting a consistent dual-threat quarterback. Sure, Christian Stewart can run the ball, but it isn’t one of his strongest attributes. And after what happened to Hill, Robert Anae will likely not let his QBs scramble as much.

    Stewart had a couple of opportunities for huge passing plays against Utah State, but he simply overthrew his receivers. Blame whatever you want—an inaccurate arm, pressure in the backfield, etc.—but you can’t criticize him. He’s a backup quarterback, throwing the first passes of his FBS career in a sellout rivalry game on ESPN.

    Nerves were probably the only things to blame for Stewart’s less-than-appealing passing numbers. It is almost certain that if he can get more comfortable in the pocket, the long ball will become a huge weapon for BYU.

    #187234

    coleryan
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    With BYU’s do-it-all quarterback, Taysom Hill now out for the entire year with a leg injury, BYU’s Vegas odds took a major hit. Instead of being a large favorite, like they’ve grown accustomed to the past few weeks. The Cougars take on a role of underdog.

    Opening lines for BYU vs. Central Florida came out on Sunday, and the Cougars are three-point underdogs. This is the second time in 2014 that BYU is an underdog. The other game was Texas in week two. BYU was a one-point underdog in that game against the Horns.

    BYU’s identity with Taysom Hill out is now gone. The Cougars now have to get used to being a weekly underdog, and battling for a full 60 minutes to win ball games.

    So far in 2014, BYU is 2-3 after the spread. Both covers came in the first two games on the road. All three home games, BYU failed to cover the large point spreads they were favored in each week.

    Thursday’s contest against Central Florida marks the second meeting between the schools. The other came in BYU’s first year as an Independent in 2011. BYU won that game 24-17.

    UCF is 2-2 on the season and coming off a win over American Conference rival, Houston, last Thursday night.

    #187235

    coleryan
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    The BYU football team will hit the road early this week as they travel to University of Central Florida for their sixth game. For UCF, this is only their second home game of the season. For BYU, this is a long trip to Florida in what is already a short week of preparation.

    With Taysom Hill suffering a season-ending injury in Friday night’s game against Utah State, Christian Stewart has stepped into the role of starting quarterback.

    Stewart was not able to lead his team to victory Friday night. He threw the ball deep several times, but finished with a low completion percentage. He also threw three costly interceptions that prevented the Cougars from scoring touchdowns.

    He has had a short week of practice, but there is hope that the coaching staff will be able to prepare Stewart for his first game on the road.

    “Especially now with Taysom being out, I have been spending most of my time with-well, I’ve been spending all my time with the offense,” coach Bronco Mendenhall. “With Taysom being gone, to say that that influence isn’t needed–I still think there’s value there.”

    The Cougars have a quick turn around before playing the Knights on Thursday. With only three days of practice to get the team refocused and Stewart ready (BYU did not practice on Saturday and Sunday because of LDS General Conference), Mendenhall expressed that there was a sense of urgency.

    “Not quite finished teaching on a short week with as much practice as we needed to get done, I was allotted a 10-minute team meeting that went for about a half-hour and that didn’t even come close to saying what I wanted to say,” Mendenhall said. “So we’ll squeeze in as much as possible before we play Thursday. But there is urgency with the players. There is urgency with the coach. And they’re motivated.”

    After a successful 2013 season that included a BCS bowl appearance, the Knights have gone 2-2 this season, winning their most recent game against previous BYU opponent, the University of Houston. The outcome of the game came down to the final seconds of play. Houston was down 17 -12 and poised to score the go-ahead touchdown with the ball on UCF’s 10-yard line. Brandon Alexander, a UCF defensive end, forced a fumble and recovered the ball, sealing the victory for the Knights.

    “The quarterback broke and I just knew that his intent was not to pass, it was to run,” Alexander said. “So, he just dove and when he dove, I dove … Once the ref came out there and said it was a touchback it was just a wonderful feeling.”

    #187236

    coleryan
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    • Author

    The Line: UCF -3.5, Total: 47

    Line movement: The Wynn opened the Knights at -3.5 on Sunday, quickly dropped them to -3, but was back up to -3.5 on Monday. A day before the game, BYU +3.5 and UCF -3 could both be found around Las Vegas.

    Trends that matter: BYU is 0-3 ATS in its last three games after starting 2-0 ATS.

    BYU is 17-12-1 ATS after a SU loss since Bronco Mendenhall’s tenure started in 2005.

    UCF is 5-0 ATS in its last five Thursday games.

    The UNDER is 3-0 in UCF’s last three games and 4-0 in its last four at home.

    The UNDER is 4-1 in BYU’s last four road games.

    Stewart taking control under center: BYU (4-1 SU, 2-3 ATS) will turn to senior backup quarterback Christian Stewart. He came in during the second quarter last game and went 10-of-29 for 172 yards and three picks. Stewart seems confident in his abilities, but is a major drop-off from the Heisman candidate Hill (975 passing yards, 463 rushing).

    The Cougars will likely look to feature running back Jamaal Williams (395 yards, 5.1 ypc) to take some pressure off Stewart. Their 61st-ranked defense (382.6 YPG) also needs to play better after allowing a much-higher 488 ypg the last two games.

    UCF needs to pick up the offense: UCF (2-2 SU and ATS) evened its record last Thursday with a 17-12 win at Houston as 2.5-point dogs. Three Houston turnovers were the difference as the Knights were outgained in total yards (331-228). This is only their second true home game of the year; they played Penn State in Dublin to open the season.

    UCF’s offense (281 YPG, ranked 119th) is having trouble both passing and rushing the ball. Sophomore quarterback Justin Holman has four touchdowns and no picks the last two games, but is only averaging 123 ypg through the air. More offense will likely be needed in this game even with Hill out for BYU.

    Injuries that matter: BYU’s Hill (leg) is out. Linebacker Alani Fua, safety Dallin Leavitt and offensive lineman Brayden Kearsley are all questionable.

    Weather: The forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the upper 70s. Visit Weather Underground for the latest forecast.

    The Linemakers’ lean: Let’s take a look at the lines against a common opponent — Houston — to help us determine if there’s been an overreaction to Hill’s absence: BYU was a 17-point home favorite over Houston, UCF was a 2-point road dog against them. After factoring in home field, those numbers equate to about a 12-point difference between these Thursday night combatants. The drop-off from Hill to Stewart is about 7 points, so we’re still looking at a 5-point ratings advantage for BYU. Yet, the Cougars are a dog here.

    Statistically, BYU’s defense is No. 11 against the run, and UCF QB Justin Holman isn’t scaring anyone. We’ll take BYU as the underdog here.

    In terms of the total, we’ll look for BYU to keep it conservative and for UCF to have trouble moving the ball. Also, the Cougars trend UNDER on the road, while the Knights trend OVER at home. UNDER 47 is the play.

    #187237

    coleryan
    Member
    • Author

    An undefeated season, potential Heisman status and a possible New Year’s Bowl Game.

    These were the expectations of BYU football fans before the game against in-state rival Utah State. Little did they know that this single game would change those expectations and bring doubt and concern for the remainder of the season. All of this due to losing BYU’s starting quarterback, Taysom Hill.

    So, who is the new BYU quarterback, and does he have the potential to reassemble the shattered pieces of the expectations of BYU fans for the season?

    Christian Stewart was never far away from BYU growing up. He lived in Orem and played for Timpanogos High School. He was named Utah Valley Player of the Year and became the MVP of his team.

    Stewart attended and played for Snow College for two years before arriving at BYU. While he was successful at Snow, being second in the nation with a total of 39 touchdowns, BYU was always his dream school.

    “I grew up going to BYU football games with my dad,” Stewart said. “I always wanted to be a starting quarterback here. It’s a dream come true, and now I’m ready to take the helm and lead this team to victories.”

    Despite losing to Utah State, Stewart is confident in his ability to step in the shoes of Hill.

    “Honestly, I love it,” Stewart said. “I want to get back out on the field. I was laying in my bed till 3 a.m. Friday night just wanting to be back on the field. There’s nothing like that adrenaline rush and I felt like I was starting to get into the groove of things. I’m just excited to get back on the field and play.”

    The question has to be asked, though, about whether Stewart will be able to lead the football team down the same path that they embarked on with Hill. Of course, talk of an undefeated season and Heisman are no longer a part of the picture, but there are still lofty goals for the Cougars. That puts a lot of pressure on a quarterback that has not played for a year and a half, but Mendenhall is confident and wants his team to know that Stewart is the one for the job.

    “[Mendenhall] just expressed his sincere confidence in me, and he knows that I can do it,” Stewart said. “He expressed that to the team today in front of everybody that I am the guy. I’m the leader of this offense now and everybody has faith in me. It builds my confidence even more, knowing that everyone surrounding me has that confidence. And I’m excited to see what we do.”

    With a quick turn around and only three days to prepare in practice, BYU travels to Florida to face their next opponent, University of Central Florida, on Thursday night.

    For Taysom Hill, this looks like the end of the road as BYU’s quarterback for the 2014 season.

    Last Friday night, toward the end of the second quarter, right after USU scored a touchdown that put the Aggies into the lead for the first time, BYU was eager to even the score before heading into the locker room for halftime. Hill took the ball and faked a pass. He did what he has become known for and ran the ball to his right, only to be met by two defenders that took him down awkwardly after a two-yard gain. Hill got up, but he immediately signaled to coaches and trainers that something was wrong.

    Fans held their breath as Hill hobbled off the field, unsure about what exactly had happened. Second-string quarterback Christian Stewart immediately took the helm, but the fans focused on Hill. Hopes slowly faded as the medical team brought the cart out along to the sideline, intending to take Hill into the locker room. It seemed clear that Hill would not return to the game, but any hopes that the injury would only limit Hill for the next game or two vanished when Mendenhall later announced that Hill had a fractured leg and would be out for the rest of the season.

    Hill was quickly scheduled for surgery the next morning. At the time, it was clear that the fracture was significant, but it wasn’t until surgery that the true extent of the damage was known.

    “I don’t know the exactness of it, other than it was two hours worth of surgery, one plate, eight screws, every [medial] ligament shredded–so significant,” head coach Bronco Mendenhall said Monday. “They knew it was bad, but when they got in, it was worse.”

    By the end of the day, surgery was a success. Hill expressed his thanks to fans and teammates on Twitter over the LDS General Conference weekend.

    “Thanks for all the prayers and tweets tonight!! Love my team, and will be supporting them all year! #fam #CougarNation,” Hill tweeted Saturday.

    BYU’s reputation as a university is that it develops great quarterbacks, so devastated Cougar fans lamented over the loss of such a special quarterback. Even opposing coaches were sad to hear the news.

    “I think he was an exception throughout the country,” said UCF’s head coach George O’Leary. “I’ve seen him three or four times play and he was just an exceptional player and a tough injury to a great player. Really was a great player.”

    However, looking ahead in the season, Stewart will not be alone as he takes on his new role. Although Hill will not play anytime soon, it will not stop him from showing up to the games and fully supporting his fellow BYU Cougars as they fight to keep their dreams alive.

    “[Hill] will be there coaching me, being on the sideline, being that support that I can use,” Stewart said. “Honestly, I really missed that on the sideline on Friday night. You know, when Taysom comes off the field, I’ll come up to him and express things that I saw or talk to him about his reads and what he’s seeing and I didn’t really have that on Friday and I kind of wished I did… I’m excited, going forward, to have Taysom there with me on the sideline.”

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