BYU Football: 4 Lessons Learned from Blowout Win over UConn
BYU left the East Coast last Friday with a huge 35-10 win to kick off the 2014 season. Led by a monster game from quarterback Taysom Hill, the Cougs quickly built a three-possession lead, and UConn never recovered.
Although BYU has a huge game at Texas this weekend, it's never bad to look back at the previous week's game. There are many lessons to be learned from Friday's victory, and here are four of them.
Taysom Hill Is the Real Deal
If you are still skeptical of Hill after his performance against UConn, you shouldn't be.
End of story.
Hill completed over 77 percent of his passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns Friday and ran for two more scores. And he didn't get picked off or fumble once. Heck, he looked like Johnny Manziel at some points (see: Terenn Houk touchdown).
Of course, BYU will face better teams than Connecticut this season, but this game was definitely a nice start to Hill's Heisman season.
The Kicking Game Needs Some Help
Trevor Samson handled BYU's place-kicking duties last week, but he didn't turn many heads. Despite making all five of his extra points, Samson missed his only field-goal attempt—a 33-yarder—and struggled all night on kickoffs. His kickoff average was a meager 54 yards—a number that's much too low for any FBS kicker.
Scott Arellano punted well, averaging 43 yards per kick. But kudos go to the offense for moving the ball so consistently, as Arellano punted only three times all night (a career low).
Place-kicking is worrisome for this year's Cougar squad, and unless it is resolved, it could be costly.
Penalties Need to Be Limited
BYU committed 15 penalties for 150 yards against UConn, and against a better team, that could lose the Cougars the game. Granted, the referees hardly let a play go by in the first half without a flag being thrown, but you have to play through it.
Honestly, if you take away the penalties, the Cougars probably would have scored 40-plus points, maybe even 50. They won't be able to get away with leaving points on the field like that against Texas or other opponents.
"The Cougars' lack of maturity and discipline killed multiple drives," B/R's Jason Fray wrote. "This was particularly evident in the second half. BYU needs to exercise more restraint if it's to have a successful season heading forward."
BYU's Front 7 Is as Solid as Ever
The Cougars lost several star linebackers from last year, including Kyle Van Noy, Spencer Hadley and Uani 'Unga, but that didn't stop them from dismantling UConn's rushing game. Led by Bronson Kaufusi, BYU's defense held the Huskies to only 71 rushing yards on 32 carries.
Kaufusi, in his first game as a Cougar linebacker, registered two tackles for loss, two sacks, two quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery. Zac Stout also played well, with 10 total tackles, while Jherremya Leuta-Douyere registered his first career forced fumble.
If the defense continues to play as it did against UConn, it will be a great year for the Cougars.