BYU quarterback Taysom Hill will receive most of the attention this season in Provo, Utah as the Cougars attempt to climb the national rankings, but BYU’s defense sets the tone for the program.
No. 25 BYU leads the Houston Cougars 23-15 through two quarters of play at LaVell Edwards Stadium. BYU’s aggressiveness on defensive positively and negatively defined the early portion of the contest.
Bronco Mendenhall‘s squad could have a far more commanding lead, but mistakes on the defensive side of the football kept drives alive for Houston. It finally resulted in a late second quarter touchdown from Houston quarterback John O’Korn to wide receiver Deontay Greenberry two plays after BYU was flagged for a personal foul. BYU’s Cougars committed another mistake as time expired when they surrendered a touchdown on a 45-yard Hail Mary pass from O’Korn to Daniel Spencer for Houston’s second touchdown within the final 1:41 of the half.
BYU gave as good as it received from Houston, though.
It started when senior linebacker Zac Stout was unblocked and tackled Houston running back Ryan Jackson in the endzone to give BYU a 2-0 lead in the first quarter. BYU’s defense continued its physical play throughout the first quarter and most of the second frame. Senior safety Craig Bills delivered three devastating hits over the middle of the field, and Houston’s wide receivers were looking over their shoulder when they ran their routes.
Yet, BYU couldn’t stop Houston once O’Korn and his spread offense started to get into rhythm. O’Korn attempted 32 passes in the first half and gained 214 yards through the air. Hill countered with 241 yards of total offense.
As these team’s prepare for the second half, their approaches will be simple. BYU must remain aggressive and physical but refrain from making mistakes, while Houston wants to keep momentum on its side by keeping O’Korn in rhythm.