BYU Beats Portland State 20-6: 5 Things That Matter
It wasn’t pretty, but BYU got past Portland State in a rocky start to the season.
That’s Why You Have A Preseason Tune-Up
Of course, BYU doesn’t have a conference season, so every game matters than it does for others, but – no kidding – this wasn’t exactly the type of emphatic statement the team wanted.
There was never any real danger of losing to Portland State, but it was a struggle to get the offense moving, and to finally put the game away.
But that’s sort of the point of scheduling an FCS team to start the season. You can make the sort of mistakes the Cougars made, and come out clunky, and still win by double-digits.
It’s why you play Portland State first, and not LSU. Beat the Tigers next week in Houston, and no one will care how this one looked.
To Beat LSU, The O Line Needs To Find A Ground Game
Squally Canada was fine.
Everyone knew it would take a village to replace now-Green Bay Packer Jamaal Williams, and Canada finished with 98 yards and a score, and Kavika Fonua averaged 8.4 yards per carry on his seven runs – led by a bruiser for his big play of the day – but outside of the 68 yards and each of their two big runs, there wasn’t much happening.
There weren’t any other home runs, and it was a struggle to establish anything up front – and this was Portland State.
If the offensive line isn’t going to be able to control the game for any considerable stretch, that means …
Tanner Mangum And The Receiving Weapons Have To Do Even More
Mangum wasn’t awful, but he only completed 16-of-27 passes for 197 yards and a score, and there were only a few downfield plays.
Worst of all, coming up with third down conversions was a major problem.
Matt Bushman led the way with 56 yards on three catches, and Neil Pau’u came up with the team’s first score of the season on a 28-yard play, but like the running game, there wasn’t anything consistently great to get excited about.
But again – it was a tune-up. Things will be fine as long as the offense is sharper next week, and …
The Defense Has To Keep Being The BYU Defense
As expected, the defense did its part with a terrific day from LB Fred Warner – who led the way with ten tackles – and with two sacks coming from Stone Takitaki from the end.
Portland State didn’t have a ground game – averaging under three yards per carry – and dangerous quarterback Jalani Eason never found a groove, completing just 16-of-36 passes for 134 yards with a score and an interception.
Other than the short touchdown, Portland State came up with just two decent big plays. For the most part, the Cougars kept everything under wraps, and they needed to while the offense sputtered.
Control Drives, Or LSU Will Eat BYU Up
Again, the big issue was the Cougar offense keeping the chains moving.
BYU’s third down struggles meant there were way too many short possessions, and even when it did come up with decent marches, there wasn’t a lot to come out of it.
Its best drive of the day closed out with a field goal, while its only other drive of more than seven plays ended with a touchdown.
To beat this into the ground, against LSU, BYU has come up with easier third-and-short chances, and they have to keep on converting.
The defense allowed a 14-play drive, an eight play drive, and a 17-play march that ended in the only Portland State touchdown.
LSU can’t get into a groove.