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The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of 28!
The Skiff Orientation Edition: Welcome, Class of '28!
By Georgie London, Staff Writer
Published May 13, 2024
Advice from your fellow Frogs, explore Fort Worth, pizza reviews and more. 

Dueling columns: Will Frogs tackle BCS dreams?

Frogs must put constant pressure on Hall

The Frogs have faced teams with prolific offenses for the past two years with great star power to back up highly-ranked team stats. This season the Frogs have already stopped Clemson running back C.J. Spiller and have come out victorious against an Air Force team that was ranked second in the nation in rush offense at the time.

But TCU hasn’t faced an offense like this.

BYU has star power at almost every skill position, the biggest at quarterback in Max Hall. Earlier in the season, Hall picked part a good Oklahoma defense in their biggest win of the season so far. But despite the other key players the Cougars have out on the field, BYU’s success hinges completely on Hall.

In their only loss of the season, Hall was forced to get rid of the ball by the persistent zone blitz of Florida State. Last year, the Frogs were able to flush Hall out of the pocket and forced him to make decisions on the run, causing a complete offensive meltdown by the Cougars.

The Frogs have proven they have four key assets in putting a quarterback to the turf in Jerry Hughes, Wayne Daniels, Tank Carder and Daryl Washington. These four should already be giving Hall nightmares about the havoc they will be bringing on him.

BYU tight end Dennis Pitta leads the team in receiving yards, but will be a non-factor in the game with the extra help needed to block Hughes, Daniels, Carder and Washington. If the Cougars do roll him out, he will be well covered by the extremely athletic Washington. The height mismatch will be countered by sheer athleticism.

A good offense against a good defense always presents a tough challenge, but as the cliche goes, defense wins championships. And defense will win this weekend’s playoff-atmosphere game for the Frogs by a one-score margin.

Sports editor Travis L. Brown is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Dallas.

Hall and Unga will carry cougars to victory

At a time when the rankings often favor style over substance, BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall stands stoically on the side of conservatism.

Both TCU (No. 8 in BCS standings) and BYU (No. 16 in BCS standings) were ranked in the first BCS poll of the season, and each team has a chance to make a significant leap with a victory. Coming in without a loss, TCU has more to lose and could hop ahead of Boise State as the favorite non-BCS school in the country with a victory.

And for BYU, which already had a huge win over Oklahoma nullified when it laid an egg at home against a schizophrenic Florida State team, this year’s game against the Horned Frogs could be the statement game they need to get back into the fringe of the BCS picture. Who knows what could happen if Boise State were to miraculously lose to one of the cream puffs on its remaining schedule?

The Horned Frogs made the Cougars look foolish in Texas last year, when an undefeated BYU team came in with visions of a BCS-bowl invitation and left with their tails between their legs. They couldn’t keep up with TCU’s speed and athleticism, and the combination of Jerry Hughes and Jeremy Kerley created problems for BYU throughout TCU’s 32-7 route.

Keeping those two in check, along with finding ways to get Harvey Unga the ball in space will be the keys to victory for BYU. After battling interception problems earlier this season, Max Hall has thrown six touchdowns without a pick the last two games. This has everything to do with his decision making – choosing to take the underneath routes rather than forcing the ball downfield – and he’ll have to continue this against TCU to give BYU a shot.

On defense, BYU will be toast if they pull a repeat of the Florida State game, giving a mobile quarterback an eternity to throw (or run) on every play. Andy Dalton will pick the Cougars apart if they can’t get any sustained pressure on him.

The stage is set for what will probably be the best Mountain West Conference game of the year. And for perhaps the only time this season, the winning team won’t have to rely on style points to get their due credit in national polls.

Matt Payne is the sports editor for the BYU Daily Universe.

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