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The Cougars played Utah State at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 2 and walked away with a victory of 42-14. (Preston Crawley)

BYU football’s season was looking bleak halfway through October with three consecutive losses. Now that the team has two important wins under its belt, the optimism has increased and so has the team’s stat line.

BYU beat Boise State 28-25 on Oct. 19, and after taking a bye week, the team toppled Utah State 42-14 on Nov. 2.

Senior Austin Kafentzis said the bye week helped the team significantly in their preparation for the Utah State game.

“We just got better each and every day. It’s nice having a bye week so you can get your mind and your body right, rest up, watch football on Saturdays and recover a bit,” Kafentzis said.

The extra preparation seemed to give the Cougars a boost in their last game and now, coming off of two big wins, the team’s stat line has improved, and things are looking up. If this play continues, the Cougars are on pace to walk away with a winning season and bowl eligibility.

One of BYU’s lowest ranking stats was its rushing defense, where the Cougars ranked 122 out of 130 teams after their loss against USF. That ranking has now been bumped up to 111 as the Cougars allowed just 127 total yards on the ground against an Aggie team that has averaged 153.9 yards on the ground this season. In comparison, if BYU had averaged 127 rushing yards throughout the season until this point, the team would be ranked 31st in the nation for rushing defense.

BYU’s overall yardage per game has also increased dramatically because of its last two wins. After the USF game, the team had an average of 376 yards per game, and now the average is 412.5.

BYU’s rushing offense currently comes in at 101, but where the Cougars really shine is in their passing game. The team currently has a 62.2% completion rate and an average of 278.8 passing yards per game.

Gunner Romney, 18, catches a pass from his little brother, Baylor, against USF on Oct. 12. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

This strength in the passing game is impressive considering all of the quarterback and offensive line changes that have happened this season. Head coach Kalani Sitake said he’s been very impressed with the way the offense has performed despite the changes.

“We have some momentum going forward and I think they’ve been able to respond to some new guys getting the opportunity to play,” Sitake said.

BYU’s skill in the passing game will make for an interesting game against Liberty on Nov. 9 because Liberty is also very dependent on its passing offense.

The Flames rushing offense is currently ranked at No. 103, just below BYU. Their passing offense, however, is no. 30, which also falls just short of the Cougars, whose passing offense is ranked at no. 27.

Both teams have performed well this season on their passing defense, though Liberty has allowed about 20 more yards per game than BYU has.

Overall, the ball will likely be seeing a lot of airtime on both ends of the field in the game against Liberty this Saturday.

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