BYU Cougars @ Texas Longhorns Football Preview
After week one victories, BYU and Texas enter this Saturday’s matchup with some similarities. Mainly, both are adjusting to new systems under new offensive coordinators, and both teams feel like they didn’t play complete games last Saturday. While Texas did beat Rice 34-9, it only held a 13-9 lead mid-way through the third quarter. BYU, on the other hand, moved the ball well on the road against the SEC’s Mississippi, but every drive before the fourth quarter ended in a turnover, a missed field goal, or a punt from just outside field-goal range. Each squad will be looking to make significant improvements in week two.
While both teams are generally thought of as prolific passing teams, the run game for each will be vital in this game. Highly-touted Texas freshman Malcolm Brown rushed 16 times for 86 yards in his college debut. As Brown gets more comfortable in the college game, he could quickly become a major weapon in the Longhorn offense. BYU’s most dynamic rusher, Josh Quezada, was held out most of the Mississippi game with a migraine but is expected to be fine to play against Texas. Reliable seniors J.J. DiLuigi and Brian Kariya combined for 91 yards in his absence.
Coaches targeted poor center-quarterback exchanges, particularly in the shotgun, for BYU’s inconsistent offensive performance last week, which cause quarterback Jake Heaps to spend an extra second securing the snap instead of reading coverage. With that said to be fixed, the Cougars have sights set on a much more prolific output. Key to that is highly-touted freshman receiver Ross Apo, who decommitted from Texas for the opportunity to catch passes from Heaps at BYU. Apo caught a 25-yard streak as well as a 19-yard out for BYU’s only offensive touchdown. BYU will likely try to target last year’s receiving star Cody Hoffman more than one time as well.
For Texas, they hope the development of Garrett Gilbert finally blossoms into what they had hoped for after he was thrust into the spotlight in January of 2010 in the national championship game. Gilbert was 13-23 for 239 yards and a touchdown in last week’s win over Rice, connecting for three big plays to Mike Davis, who had 115 receiving yards. When the game was over, Texas’s offense did come together much more than BYU’s had in week one, finishing with 506 total yards.
The battle of the trenches will be key in this matchup. BYU held Mississippi to just 64 rushing yards, the aspect of the Rebels’ offense that was not supposed to be in question headed into the game. BYU’s defensive front seven should have another formidable challenge with Texas and the young rusher Brown. Texas can expect the BYU offense to put the pieces together a bit more than last week, so another big-yardage effort of its own will likely be needed.
By: Brett Hein
Copyright 2005-2011, CollegeSports-fans.com and the Dash Fans Network of Independent College Sports Fan Sites.