BYU Football Bowl Capsule

BYU Cougars

BYU’s first season as an independent has gone quite well. The schedule had some ups and downs, but the Cougars pulled off as many wins as most expected they would in 2011. Despite inconsistencies under center, BYU has pulled through and won games. The defense has really saved the season for the Cougars, but the offense can put up points pretty quickly.

2011 Record: 9-3, 0-0
Last Bowl Appearance: 2010 New Mexico Bowl vs. UTEP (W 52-24)

Big Wins: 9/3 at Mississippi (14-13), 10/15 at Oregon State (38-28)
Bad Losses: 9/17 Utah (10-54), 10/28 vs. TCU (28-38)

Coach: Bronco Mendenhall (65-24 at BYU, 65-24 overall)
Bowl Record: 4-2 at BYU, 4-2 overall
Offensive Coordinator: Brandon Doman
Defensive Coordinator: Bronco Mendenhall

The defense has often been put in bad situations, but overall they have done an admirable job. Coach Bronco Mendenhall’s 3-4 defense will get some pressure on the opposing quarterback even though the sack numbers are pretty much non-existent. Linebackers Jordan Pendleton and Kyle Van Noy spend the most time in the backfield and account for a large percent of the team’s sacks. With sure tacklers Brandon Ogletree and Uona Kaveinga manning the middle of the linebacker corps, BYU has a superb group in the middle of the defense. Whether it is blocking kicks, picking off passes, forcing fumbles or sacking the quarterback, Van Noy is the player who can change the game on any given play. The secondary is led by safeties Daniel Sorensen and Travis Uale. Those two can help out with the rush defense or stay back and pick off some passes. The Cougars defense will keep them in most games. This is a team that only lost at Texas by one point and was in the game against TCU in Dallas.

However, the defense allows way more points than they should. That is mainly due to turnovers from the BYU offense. There is not much that the defense can do when the offense gives the opposition the ball in their own half of the field. The good news is the offense has gotten more efficient under Riley Nelson. The veteran junior is not a particularly accurate passer, but he will keep the interceptions to a minimum. That has not been the case this season with former quarterback co-starter Jake Heaps. The other thing that Nelson can do is run the ball. With a backfield that already contains a couple decent backs in J.J. Di Luigi and Michael Alisa, the BYU ground game can be a force to be reckoned with. None of those rushers have put up great numbers, but together they can throw the defense off balance. Cody Hoffman and Ross Apo are good receivers as long as somebody can get them the ball. There is talent on offense, but they have been agonizingly inconsistent at times.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: J.J. Di Luigi, RB, 546 yards
Passing: Riley Nelson, QB, 1,467 yards
Receiving: Cody Hoffman, WR, 821 yards
Tackles: Brandon Ogletree, LB, 67
Sacks: Kyle Van Noy, LB, 5.0
Interceptions: Travis Uale, S, 3; Kyle Van Noy, LB, 3

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 165.73 (52nd in nation, 4th among independents)
Passing Offense: 234.27 (59, 2)
Total Offense: 400.00 (45, 3)
Scoring Offense: 29.64 (50, 3)
Rushing Defense: 128.00 (34, 1)
Pass Defense: 190.45 (19, 2)
Total Defense: 318.45 (17, 1)
Scoring Defense: 20.36 (24, 1)
Turnover Margin: -.27 (82, 2)
Sacks: 1.73 (76, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.00 (15, 2)

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