Nothing like a game against a defensively challenged team to cure what ails your offense, at least that is what the BYU Cougars hope to gain from their game this Friday against the Hawaii Warriors.
BYU's offense has been trending downward for the last three weeks. It started with a 45-point outburst against Weber State, then they dropped down to 21 against Utah in the Holy War Game and then a dreadful six-point showing against Boise State.
Fortunately, Hawaii doesn't play much defense, so there should be ample opportunities for the Cougars to put up points.
The Warriors are trying to earn their first victory over an FBS school. They have lost to USC and Nevada by a combined score of 118-34. Their only win came over Lamar in Week 2.
Both BYU and Hawaii need this game just to get their confidence back after dreadful starts to the season.
Who will win?
Where: LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah
When: Friday, September 28 at 8:00 p.m. ET
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: ESPN Radio 1420 (Hawaii); KSL 1160 AM (BYU)
Betting Line: BYU (-28.5), according to Vegas Insider
Hawaii Injury Report (via USA Today)
Questionable: OL Ben Drew (Leg); OL Frank Loyd (Ankle)
Out: FB Dustin Elisara (Knee); DL Calen Friel (Leg); DB Ryan Pasoquen (Knee); WR Allen Sampson (Knee); WR Samson Anguay (Knee)
BYU Injury Report (via USA Today)
Questionable: DL Ian Dulan (Back); LB Zac Stout (Achilles)
Out: OL Houston Reynolds (Achilles); LB Kevan Bills (Knee)
What's At Stake?
Right now, both teams just need to figure out who they are and what they are going to do as the season moves along.
Hawaii has to prove it has a defense capable of stopping a team that actually plays at its level of college football, or else this is going to be a long, long season.
BYU is trying to stop the bleeding from its current two-game losing streak. We can chalk up last week's offensive disaster against Boise State to the talent the Broncos have.
What They're Saying
Given the way the BYU offense has been sputtering lately, the fact that a quarterback controversy is starting to gain steam should come as no surprise. Just don't expect the team to make a change anytime soon.
Here is what offensive coordinator Brandon Doman told reporters (via Jeff Call of the Deseret News) after the Cougars' loss against Boise State last week.
It's all dependent upon Riley's health, and whether or not he can play like he's capable of playing. If he can't play Riley Nelson football, we'll have to go with an alternative plan. I'm not worried about those decisions. I just want to get him healthy. Ultimately, whether it's Riley or Taysom playing, we can't make the mistakes we're making.
If Riley Nelson's going to be so ineffective because he is injured, why is he out there in the first place? It is obvious he can't do what the team expects of him, so he is dragging down everyone else.
Hawaii Player to Watch: WR Trevor Davis
Hawaii's offense has to carry it this season. That has been the case with this program for a long time, but at least in the past there have been some playmakers on defense who can make things happen from time to time.
Davis gives the offense an explosive element on the outside that BYU can't match. He only has nine receptions on the year, but is averaging 18.9 yards per catch.
Since the Warriors don't throw the ball like they used to, Davis has to make the most of the opportunities that he does get to make plays. If he doesn't, BYU's defense could turn this game into a slaughter quickly.
BYU Player to Watch: QB Riley Nelson
You can track the progress of BYU's offensive output based on how Nelson has been playing. He went from completing 69 percent of his passes for 285 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a rating of 154.3 in Week 1 against Washington State all the way down to 44 percent, 19 yards, three interceptions and minus-4.5 rating.
If Nelson can't figure out Hawaii's defense, the screams for a new quarterback in Provo will get a lot louder.
BYU has a lot of questions to figure out the rest of the season, but for one game against mediocre competition, the Cougars will surely get back on track.
BYU 38, Hawaii 17