I wasn’t among those that picked BYU to beat Florida State this year, though I was among those who were hoping to be wrong. I expected to see more from the Cougars even in a loss. Let’s take a look at what went wrong for the Cougars, by looking at the keys to the game from my BYU-Florida State preview.
BYU will have to stop Christian Ponder. The Cougar defense did a better job against Ponder this year. He only accounted for 149 yards passing and 1 TD, with 50 yards rushing (last year 195/2/77). His supporting cast however, was able to supplement quite effectively, and the Seminoles ended up with 278 rushing yards.
Ball control. BYU only gave up two turnovers, and FSU gave up one, so you have to say it did turn out better than last year (5/0). Still, in a game against a tough opponent, any lost possession will cost you big.
Team Identity. BYU still needs to find themselves, especially on offense. You won’t win many games when you average 15 points of offense. To help matters, Bronco Mendenhall says he may be able to name a starter at QB as early as Wednesday. This will be key for the Cougars to build offensive chemistry. Also rumored is that Chambers may move to TE since no one has stepped up at the position, and Jake Heaps is in desperate need of someone that can catch the ball in the middle of the field.
Brightest Moment. Just before the half, Jake Heaps led BYU to 10 straight points against FSU to bring the score to 10-13.
What we know about FSU
Florida State is now a few votes from being a ranked team. Their only loss is to now #8 Oklahoma. They are looking to open up ACC play this week against Wake Forest, and are favored to win the Atlantic division this year. They have a strong team, and should end up about as good as predicted before the season.
What we know about BYU
Midway through their tough non-conference schedule, BYU is 1-1, with a red-hot Nevada team up next. They are a young team, struggling to find an identity. They need a starting QB, and most of Cougar Nation believes that they have one. According to Bronco, the growth the team needs to make is not something that will be achieved in a week, but throughout a whole season. The Cougars will need to get things figured out quickly, or the bulk of this season may be wasted on “learning experiences.”