The 2013 BYU football season has brought its fair share of surprises, and some have been more shocking than others. From rushing-game dominance to the emergence of several players, this year has been hard to predict.
Many areas of the program have been the polar opposites of what was expected a month or two ago. There is still plenty of football left to be played, but we have already learned a lot about this BYU team.
So, here are the five most shocking stats of this season.
Cody Hoffman entered the season as the top Cougars receiver (by far) but has not yet broken away in the same role. It is unfair to say that he is not the most talented wideout because he has only played three of five games, but Mitch Mathews' emergence was unexpected.
He has caught 13 passes on the year for 234 yards, including a three-touchdown showing against Utah State. With 18 yards per catch, he likes to run the deep routes.
Hoffman has not yet found the end zone, but Taysom Hill has done the same only four times. In the end, I'd bet that Hoffman has the more complete season, but Mathews has provided an unanticipated—and welcome—surprise.
Prior to the season, Adam Hine was expected to play a big role in the Cougars backfield. So far, he has been a star on kickoffs but has not found a niche on offense.
With Michael Alisa out for the season, Hine could take a load from Jamaal Williams' back. With a few games ahead against decent defenses, his total of only three rushing yards will go up in the future.
Hine has the potential to be a great running back, and only time will tell if he lives up to that.
BYU boasted one of the best linebacking groups in school history last season, which led to the tall task of replacing their starting middle backers. The losses of Uona Kaveinga and Brandon Ogletree were expected to leave a huge drop-off in talent, but we have seen the opposite.
Uani 'Unga has shattered any doubts from the "Mike" position. With a solid amount of 43 tackles on the year, he has been quite the complement to the strong front seven. Despite a whirlwind of changes at the other middle linebacker spot, 'Unga's consistency has not changed one bit.
Robert Anae's offense was predicted to succeed in the ways that it used to: plenty of throws to the tight ends, even more to the receivers and a steady rushing game. While catches from tight ends have been nonexistent and the passing game has been a roller coaster, BYU's ground attack has blazed the way.
Led by Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams, the Cougars' rushing game currently leads perennial powerhouses including UCLA, Stanford and Oklahoma. With the passing game looking to be on the right track, we could see a dominant balance in the future.
Of all the shocking stats of this season, BYU's 3-2 record is, by no means, not on that list. In fact, I predicted the Cougars to be 4-1 at this point, three points away from 3-2.
But the stats behind the stat are shocking.
The Cougars were embarrassed in the opener against Virginia in a game that was expected to be a big win. A week later, they tore apart a good Texas team, when they were expected to lose.
They later lost a winnable game against Utah, beat Middle Tennessee State and destroyed a solid Utah State squad. The wins and losses have been close to opposite of what was expected, and we will soon learn if this trend will continue.