10 Numbers To Know About BYU Entering 2019 Season
PROVO, Utah – Rejoice! BYU football has returned. It’s finally game day.
The 2019 season for BYU on paper looks to be one of their deepest and most talented teams in the era of independence. Despite the talent, this is still a young football team looking to form their identity consistently week-in and week-out.
To get you ready for the season opener, here are 10 numbers you need to know about the BYU football program.
That is Kalani Sitake’s winning percentage through three seasons. From 2016 to 2018, Sitake’s BYU teams have posted a record of 20-19 overall. This past off-season was filled with storylines surrounding whether Sitake deserved a contract extension or not. He hasn’t received one yet. But showing progress from the seven wins a season ago, could nearly guarantee he gets locked for another contract.
The number of consecutive completions Zach Wilson has had at quarterback. BYU’s sophomore signal-caller was 18-for-18 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl win against Western Michigan and in the loss to Utah last November, he completed his last passing attempt of that game to Matt Bushman.
Wilson, who will start in his first game since shoulder surgery this past winter, hasn’t had an incomplete pass since the rivalry game last November. How long can he continue the streak into tonight’s rivalry contest?
The total number of rushing yards in college football between BYU’s graduate transfer running backs Ty’Son Williams and Emmanuel Esukpa. Williams, who is BYU’s starting running back, played at South Carolina the past two seasons. Williams has rushed for 856 yards in his college career that spans two previous schools (UNC). Esukpa ran for 778 yards during his playing days at Rice.
Junior tight end Matt Bushman led all FBS tight ends in yards per reception in 2018. He was 29th among all receivers in college football last season. Bushman enters 2019 as BYU’s top receiving target and is a Mackey Award Watch List candidate which is an award given to the best tight end in college football.
Last season, BYU’s defense was ranked No. 18 in total defense allowing only 324.1 yards per game. In two of Ilaisa Tuiaki’s three seasons as the Cougars defensive coordinator, BYU has finished top 20 in defense.
In BYU’s game last year against Boise State, 10 different receivers caught passes from quarterback Zach Wilson. This year, BYU feels they are deeper and more talented at the wide receiver spot. How many receivers could Wilson target in games? We will find out soon. Names to keep an eye at receiver include seniors Talon Shumway, Aleva Hifo, and Micah Simon. Paired with sophomores Dax Milne and Gunner Romney.
That was the total number of interceptions BYU had last season as a team. Six of the interceptions were recorded by players that return this season including linebackers Zayne Anderson and Isaiah Kaufusi. The two starting outside linebackers look to be standouts in BYU’s defense.
The number for average home attendance at LaVell Edwards Stadium for BYU football games last season. BYU’s stadium capacity is 63,470. 2018’s attendance figures were the lowest average attendance per game since the stadium was expanded in 1982. Despite the dip in attendance, the 52,476 fans that showed up still ranked fourth-best in attendance figures out west.
Season ticket sales have gone up according to BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe during a Q&A session back in January. The last time BYU averaged more than 60,000 fans per home was during the 2013 season.
A large reason for the lack of fans at home games could be the lack of success in games at home. The last two years BYU has posted a 5-7 record in games played at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The last time BYU went undefeated at home was in 2015.
The number of miles BYU will travel to their road venues in the 2019 regular season. BYU has trips slated to Knoxville, Tennessee, Toledo, Ohio, Tampa, Florida, Logan, Amherst, Massachusetts, and San Diego, California.
If BYU wins six games, they qualify for bowl eligibility and will play in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve which is another 2,994 miles away from the Cougars campus.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.