Three Takeaways From BYU’s 28-25 Victory Over Boise State

Oct 20, 2019, 5:03 AM
Photo: Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey...
Photo: Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – BYU football in 2019 has been a roller coaster. There’s no other way to describe it.

The Cougars have won multiple games in a season against ranked opponents for the first time since the 2009 season. 2019 marks the first time BYU has won two games against ranked foes at home in Provo in the same season. Impressive stuff for a team that was 2-4 entering the game and had so many questions swirling heading into kickoff.

Saturday night’s win over Boise State was big for BYU’s players and coaching staff. It took a collective effort to pull off the victory and they found a way to hold on in the fourth quarter.

Here are my three takeaways from BYU’s 28-25 win over No. 14 Boise State.

#1 Kalani Sitake had answers on how to “fix” BYU versus Boise State

Earlier in the week at his press conference, Kalani Sitake faced a lot of tough questions. People wanted answers for the struggles of a BYU football team that was capable of more than the results they had produced against inferior foes in Toledo and USF.

Sitake acknowledged he was in a “tight spot” as a head coach but confidently said he knew how to fix it and believed in his previous experiences during his 19 years of coaching.

BYU and Sitake blocked the outside distractions to prepare a gameplan for Boise State that had the Broncos reeling the entire night.

There was speculation heading into the game that Sitake was going to have a greater role with the defense and early in the game, Sitake was sending in hand signals right next to defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki and cornerbacks coach Jernaro Gilford.

BYU’s defense had a different look and feel that hadn’t been seen in previous weeks. The new blitz packages that were installed were a welcome change and it had a noticeable impact on BYU’s win.

#2 Offense was aggressive despite a lull in the 2nd quarter

Like the defense, BYU’s offense had a different look and feel in the upset win over rival Boise State. Gone were jet sweeps and Run, Pass, Option plays. Instead, BYU lined up in a lot of shotgun, utilized play-action and having a balanced attack.

Offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes moved from the booth and opted to return down to field level. According to Sitake, Grimes’ was able to make a greater impact down on the field with the offensive line rather than via the phone in the booth.

Passing Game Coordinator Aaron Roderick was in the booth and as head coach Kalani Sitake noted in the postgame press conference, “it was a collaborative effort from everybody” in regards to the play calling. Whatever Roderick and Grimes were dialing up was working and the preparation and aggressiveness were noticeable.

The first drive of the game, BYU put together a 16-play drive that resulted in a touchdown. It was the first time BYU had scored a touchdown on a drive of 10-plays or more this season and they did it with their third-string quarterback in Baylor Romney

After a strong start in the opening quarter, BYU’s offense hit a lull in the second quarter with only three yards of offense. But they responded in the second half with creative and innovative plays that had the Bronco defense guessing.

Tight End Matt Bushman was heavily involved in those innovative plays early in the third quarter scoring two touchdowns to give BYU a three-possession lead. Bushman ended the night with 101 yards receiving to lead all BYU receivers.

The one knock on BYU’s offense was that they weren’t able to score any points in the fourth quarter. BYU hasn’t scored in the final quarter of a game since the win at USC. But they did enough offensively in the final 15 minutes to secure the win and they showed that aggressive mentality by bringing out the “SCRUM” play on 4th and 1/2 a yard to move the chains and win the game on an Austin Kafentzis QB sneak.

#3 Like the team, BYU fans delivered

I must admit, I was surprised by how big the turnout was at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday night. But that’s BYU fans for you. They are one of the most loyal and passionate fan bases in the country. So it shouldn’t be that big of a surprise that Cougar fans supported their beloved team.

The announced attendance on Saturday night was 58,930. The actual attendance in the stadium might have been less than that, but it was far greater than anyone expected.

When you consider BYU was on a three-game losing streak and it was the first night of the season with a winter weather advisory, Cougar fans showed their passionate support. There were multiple during the games where you could hear loud chants of “B-Y-U” reigning down in LES. Great showing from BYU fans during a tough stretch and the team gave them a much-needed win to celebrate.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

Cougar Tracks

BYU Football, Blake Mangelson...
Mitch Harper

Power Ranking All Position Units On The BYU Football Team For 2022

Ranking BYU's position units entering the 2022 season.
3 days ago
BYU Football, AP Top 25, Aaron Roderick...
Mitch Harper

How BYU Football Has Fared When Ranked In Preseason AP Top 25

The 2022 team is the 12th BYU football squad to earn a preseason ranking. How have the previous 11 fared?
4 days ago
BYU Football, Keanu Hill, Kaleb Hayes...
Mitch Harper

Breaking Down Footage From BYU Football’s First Scrimmage

Breaking down the footage from BYU football's first scrimmage of fall camp.
6 days ago
Utah High School Football, Corner Canyon, BYU...
Mitch Harper

Ten BYU Prospects To Watch During 2022 Utah High School Football Season

Watch for these BYU football prospects during the 2022 prep season.
8 days ago
Gunner Romney, BYU Football...
Mitch Harper

Gunner Romney Feels Better Than Ever Entering Final Season At BYU

Romney enters his final season at BYU.
13 days ago
BYU Football, Christopher Brooks...
Mitch Harper

Unloading The Notebook After Day One Of BYU Football Camp

Notes, observations, and tidbits from the first day of Camp Kalani down in Provo.
15 days ago
Three Takeaways From BYU’s 28-25 Victory Over Boise State