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Friday, February 23, 2018


High-profile game brings Cougars a prime opponent

The offensive and defensive line prepare for the challenge BYU presents to each unit.  |  Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

The offensive and defensive line prepare for the challenge BYU presents to each unit. | Justin Tijerina/The Daily Cougar

University of Texas coaches probably still have nightmares about the team’s trip to Provo, Utah for a contest against Brigham Young University — UH’s next opponent.

BYU tallied 550 rushing yards en route to a 40-21 victory against Texas on Sept. 7. Sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill used the zone-read option to gain positive chunks seemingly each time he touched the ball, with 259 rushing yards.

Through six games, Hill has 644 rushing yards. He is followed closely by sophomore running back Jamaal Williams, who has 543 yards for a team that has already churned out 1,577 net rushing yards and 4.9 yards per carry.

On Saturday, UH’s much-improved defense gets its chance to keep BYU’s offense from rushing rampant at Reliant Stadium on Saturday. Through five games, the Cougars are only allowing 19 points per game and 126.6 rushing yards per contest.

“We’ve got to keep them off balanced. We’ve got to tackle well. They are a big, physical team — even at quarterback,” head coach Tony Levine said. “It’ll be a great challenge for us. We’ve got to continue to create turnovers defensively.”

Though Hill is known for his feet, the Cougars are also concerned with the threat of his arm.

“He’s not a one-dimensional running quarterback,” Levine said. “He throws the ball as well. He’s got five touchdown passes.”

To stop Hill, who leads BYU in rushing and passing, the defense will need to play in a disciplined manner and continue to force turnovers, defensive coordinator David Gibbs said. The biggest threat that the read option poses to defenses is the pass game, because all of the plays give the defense a similar look before and after the ball is snapped.

“It’s impossible (to stop) a guy who can run like he can run and throw it like he throws it. He’s got great weapons around him,” Gibbs said. “He’s such a big physical running quarterback that can throw that you obviously have to take the running game away without giving up the big pass plays.”

On offense, UH will face a BYU defense that includes All-American senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Levine said the offense will know where Van Noy lines up each play because he is the type of player that can disrupt an offensive game plan. He is especially adept at getting to the quarterback — Van Noy has 10 quarterback hurries and four sacks this season.

“Kyle Van Noy is as good as an outside linebacker, rush-type guy as I’ve ever seen,” Levine said.

But for UH, it’s also an opportunity to improve its national profile. Though UH has an undefeated record, BYU is the team’s highest-profile competitor so far this season. BYU has already taken down talented teams Texas and Georgia Tech.

UH is receiving votes in the Associated Press college football poll. A victory against BYU could mean a top 25 ranking.

“It’s going to be a great challenge for us. Any time you play a team that has respect around the country, it’s a good thing. I know we’re all excited to have a chance to play a real quality opponent, and a team that beat Texas is always a bonus too,” junior offensive lineman Bryce Redman said.

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  • Grad79

    Without a doubt, UH will have to bring its A game. Eat Em Up!

  • freespur

    It is quite clear that UH is concentrating on stopping the BYU offense. I think it is equally important to make sure our pass protection holds up against their pass rush. Kyle Van Noy, their All American line backer, is a beast. The key will be establishing our own running game to make the passing game more effective.

  • punsalot

    Cougars will win for sure.

    • Farid Rushdi

      Which ones? BYU or Houston? Very confusing ….

      • punsalot


    • PMark


      The Cougars are going to lose. You can take that to the bank.

      • Terry

        The “Cougars” are going to lose? LOL…that’s one way to ensure that your prediction is correct. Well, I’ll go you one better and predict that they will come away with a win.

    • Jared

      TOO FUNNY!! 🙂

  • Farid Rushdi

    From a BYU fan (and my son went to high school with QB Taysom Hill), this is what Houston Cougar fans should know:

    Our receivers are big and fast (Cody Hoffman @ 6’4″, Mitch Mathews @ 6’5″. Running back Jamal Williams lost two games to a concussion and still is on track to rush for 1,000 yards.

    But the key is Taysom Hill. He had virtually no experience when he took over as the team’s starting QB this fall. He played in parts of a few games last year and was on his LDS mission the previous two seasons. He was very rusty.

    And his stats showed it.

    But in his last few games he’s found his passing game. He has the same talent as Steve Young and Ty Detmer as a QB but with much better legs. The guy is 6’4″ and 230 but has sprinter’s speed.

    If Hill continues to pass well against Houston, I think BYU wins. But if he has troubles like he did against Texas and Utah, Houston should win.

    Should be a great game for sure.

    • Kyle Harding

      …and shoots fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lighting from his arse! I think you’re giving him about two inches and ten pounds. I’m a big fan of Taysom, but Ty Detmer? I think you are getting a little ahead of yourself. At least at this point.

      • Coug4Ever

        No doubt, there was some embellishment there, but his point is spot on (Taysom’s 6’2″ and about 220). That being said, he’s extremely fast and built like a linebacker. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s Ty like, but his accuracy (actually, this is more of an understanding of the offence rather than accuracy) has significantly improved with each game (70% is certainly respectable). His speed is well documented (Texas game (259 rushing yards and 3 TDs) was nothing short of sick), but his arm is quickly becoming his biggest weapon (Throws to Mathews (who’s actually 6’6″) and Hoffman during the Utah St. and GTech games were amazing).

        All of this being said, this game will ride on the shoulders of the much improved OLine, as some of our better guys are finally getting healthy and playing together. Our line will determine if Hill has time to throw and lanes to run in (not to mention holes for William’s to run through).

        And just in case anyone forgot, the D will need to bring it (like they always do). Houston has some gaudy numbers against some pretty pedestrian teams (no disrespect to them), but our Cougs have been tested by some impressive offences Utah, Utah State (before Chucky Keeton got hurt), Texas, and GT. It easy to signal out Van Noy, but the defense goes way deeper than just one guy. There are several seniors who will play in the NFL that will make their presence known (Hadley, Sorensen, and Manumaleuna mainly), and our two sophomore DEnds are legit. In fairness, our CBs are our weak link, but they are improving each week, and Daniels has made some really nice plays in the last couple of games.

        Houston needs to be respected, but this game should fall our way, despite playing on the road. If our front 7 get’s a good push, our safeties will be able to stay back and play the pass, which is Houston’s strength. And our offence should be able to out physical their D. They’re fast and athletic, but they’re also small and light.

        BYU 38 Houston 17

        • Farid Rushdi

          That’s the problem with not looking up exact numbers — people smarter than you notice (you’re right, Mathews is 6’6″ and I knew that).

          Hill has the potential to be in the same category as Detmer and Young. That’s all I meant.

          • Coug4Ever

            I couldn’t agree more my Cougar brother.

      • Farid Rushdi

        I looked it up — his high school roster at Highland showed him at 6’4″ — if that’s not right I stand corrected, but that’s where I got the number from.

        Regarding Ty and Steve, I said he has the “same talent” as those two and I’ll stand by that. That doesn’t mean he’s done a thing at the collegiate level and he looked terrible those first games. But he has the talent to be great.

        Remember Ty Detmer’s first couple of games, especially the one against Wyoming? He looked horrid.

        That’s what I meant. He has the talent to be great, like several other BYU QB’s that never succeeded. Time will tell.

  • shortsallyear

    Is this a University of Houston paper? Just noticed way more BYU fans here then UH fans.

    • SamuraiJack

      It is a Cougar paper. 🙂

    • Jeff Frazier

      The BYU fan site Cougarfan picked up the article and sent us BYU fan nerds over here 🙂

  • SamuraiJack

    BYU 41 Houston 19

    Houston’s self-image is propped up by cupcake schedule.

    Peace out.

    • Pete

      Couldn’t agree more. BYU wins this game by at least two touchdowns if not more.

    • Sucks to suck

      lol remember this?

  • Donald Crisp

    BYU fans are extremely arrogant and confident, giving UH no chance due to their schedule.. This has happened over and over again… Ask #5 Oklahoma State, whom UH offensive coordinator was apart of at the Time.. Ask Penn State, who was ranked #4 in the country on defense…. Speed kills, yes UH hasn’t played any one like BYU…but that goes both ways.. BYU is a good team, but they are slow…. UH is famous for beating the schools with a name, but they will turn around and lose to UTEP… UH will shock BYU fans Saturday, UH fans won’t be….

    • DavidNM

      Arrogant? Nah, just excited to have a QB that’s showing promise. For 4 years our offense has struggled because of QB controversy, inexperience and injury. Couple Hills recent play with our killer D… and yes, we’re confident. Does Houston have a shot? Heck yes. Who knows? Houston might bury us. We’re just excited and like our chances.

  • we can beat BYU if we can win the turnover battle.

    The ball bounces funny for everyone. If it bounces right for us, we will win.
    That means OKorn must avoid interceptions.

    Also, one of the RBs needs to step up.

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