Week 1 one of the college football season is exciting, but it often offers little insight into the true identity of teams. Week 2 gives us a clearer view of the true capabilities and weaknesses of a program as most schools compete within their own division (rather than the FBS-FCS matchups so prevalent in Week 1). Locally, four of Utah’s five Division 1 football teams faced the challenge of playing against a compelling opponent. Let’s review the action:
BYU 41 Texas 7
Taysom Hill owns Texas football. In just two meetings with the Longhorns, he has a combined 668 total yards and six touchdowns. During the lsat game, Hill stopped just short of taking lunch money in the Cougars’ victory against the team in burnt orange.
Much of BYU’s success Saturday night can be attributed to Hill’s ability to make the correct reads in option run plays. After Hill hurdled his way to his first touchdown of the night, Texas’ front seven shifted to, “Let’s just try to not get torched by the quarterback run anymore” mode. Hill responded by giving the ball more to running backs Jamaal Williams and Adam Hine on the option read, who both were able to break off big gains past out-of-place linebackers.
Hine’s third-quarter touchdown run was a direct result of a fine Hill read. On the play, offensive linemen Kyle Jordan, Brock Stringham and Tuni Kanuch teamed up with tight end Devin Mahina and full back Paul Lasike to create a sizable running lane for Hine. Hill was meanwhile able to occupy the attention of two Texas linebackers, who were drawn outside on the fake quarterback keeper. All that was left for Hine to do was stiff-arm his way past the safety on his way to the end zone. Hill’s ability to make the correct reads in the run game was just as much a factor of BYU’s victory as were his highlight reel runs. But, you know, it also helps when you’re able to score using moves that can’t even be replicated on “Madden.”
Utah 59 Fresno State 27
How badly does Fresno State miss current NFL quarterback Derek Carr? In the first two games of the post-Carr era, Fresno State has been outscored 111-40. The Utes picked up right where USC left off in Week 1, making quick work of the overmatched Bulldogs. Resurging senior quarterback Travis Wilson tossed five touchdowns on the day, or one for every four of his pass attempts. All Pac-12 second team receiver Dres Anderson pulled in two touchdowns, and emerging play maker Kenneth Scott added two more in the blowout.
The Utes should head into their bye week with ample confidence as they prepare for a date with a free-falling Michigan team in the Big House. A victory in Ann Arbor would be followed by a winnable Washington State matchup in Salt Lake. Suddenly, a 4-0 start for this Utah team isn’t as farfetched as it was a week ago, potentially setting up a battle of unbeatens in Week 6 at UCLA. Shhh … keep counting Kyle Whittingham and the Utes out of making any noise in the Pac-12 South … they prefer your doubt anyway.
Utah State 40 Idaho State 20
Following a 38-7 SEC drubbing in Knoxville, the Aggies came back to Logan for a more manageable opponent. Utah State was able to pull away from the Bengals behind long punt and interception returns for touchdowns, but star quarterback Chuckie Keeton was only 13-for-30 passing for 116 yards and an interception on the night. He did have 74 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground, but he and the Aggie offense will need to improve if they have any hopes of another double-digit win season.
North Dakota State 24 Weber State 7
Talk about a brutal way to start the Jay Hill era at Weber State. After falling at FBS No. 19 ranked Arizona State, the Wildcats hosted the FCS No. 1 ranked North Dakota State Bison in its home opener. The Wildcats were able to keep the game competitive behind BYU transfer Billy Green’s 240 passing yards, but a fake field goal attempt by kicker Josh Kealamakia fell a yard short of the end zone, ultimately dooming any chance for a comeback. The Bison would pull away in the fourth quarter, spoiling HIll’s home opener en route to their 26th straight win.
SE Louisiana 41 Southern Utah 14
The SUU Thunderbirds also had their hands full when they traveled to play FCS No. 3 ranked Southeastern Louisiana. Running back Raysean Pringle made the game interesting in the third quarter with a one-yard rushing touchdown that cut the deficit to 14-20. A failed fourth quarter drive and Aaron Cantu interception proved too much for the T-Birds to overcome in the defeat.
Can BYU keep rolling when it welcomes a dejected Houston team to Provo? BYU fans with #Taysom4Heisman posters say yes. Chuckie Keeton and the Aggies hope to find an offensive rhythm when they host Wake Forest. Utah has the week off with a bye; Weber State and Southern Utah each seek for the season’s first win.