Three Storylines To Watch During BYU vs. Georgia Southern

Nov 19, 2021, 12:06 PM | Updated: 2:47 pm

PROVO, Utah –Β After a long-awaited bye week, BYU Football is back in action. The Cougars travel across the country to face the Georgia Southern Eagles in Statesboro, Georgia on Saturday afternoon. This will be the first meeting between the two teams.

BYU vs Georgia Southern

BYU has just two games remaining in the regular season, both on the road. The Cougars are 8-2 on the season with an opportunity for back-to-back seasons with 10+ wins for the first time since a four year streak from 2006-2009. Despite swirling rumors around potential coaching opportunities, Kalani Sitake says he is focused on this team and their opponent this week.

Georgia Southern enters the game with a record of 3-7, coming off a win last week against conference-foe Texas State. The Eagles of the Sun Belt fired their head coach, Chad Lunsford, after a 1-3 start this season. Earlier this month, the school announced the hire of former USC head coach Clay Helton. Helton will take over the program after the season.

Three Storylines to Watch During BYU vs Georgia Southern

1) Unique Challenge For The BYU Defense

Georgia Southern isn’t a great team, but with a Top 15 team coming into town this weekend the Eagles will be looking to pull off the big upset. The Georgia Southern offense has averaged just 22.3 points per game, but their option-style offense will be a unique challenge for the BYU defense.

BYU has had some experience against an option-heavy offense in recent years. They faced Navy and Coastal Carolina last season, who both run unique styles of that offense. Navy has a more traditional triple-option scheme, while Jamey Chadwell’s squad runs a modern amalgamation of the RPO pass game and option run game.

Georgia Southern is closer to what BYU saw against Coastal Carolina than Navy. The Eagles have seemingly committed to a two-quarterback system with Justin Tomlin and Cam Ransom. They have a solid running back in Logan Wright. Wright is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and leads the team with over 700 rushing yards.

It could be some early struggles for the Cougars against an unconventional offense. Hopefully with the cross-country travel this week the defense has plenty of time to study up on the tape. BYU shouldn’t lose this game, but it may not be the dominating start that many fans may expect.

2) Statistical Milestones Within Reach

BYU has had an impressive season so far, with many players reaching individual and record heights in 2021. With a Group of 5 opponent on the docket this week, especially one that is below .500, the Cougars expect to win and win big. We may not see a lot of the starters this week, but there are statistical milestones within reach for many players.

Quarterback Jaren Hall is five yards away from 2000 passing yards on the season and four passing touchdowns away from 20 passing touchdowns. Hall has been incredibly efficient this season, completing almost 65% of his passes and throwing just three interceptions.

Running back Tyler Allgeier is well positioned to break some of BYU’s all-time rushing records. Allgeier is just 416 yards shy of surpassing Luke Staley’s single-season rushing record at BYU, he sits at 1167 rushing yards on the season. Allgeier has 203 rushing attempts in 2021, 50 attempts away from breaking Ronney Jenkins’ record for rushing attempts in a single-season.

Tyler Allgeier also has 17 rushing touchdowns, squarely second all-time at BYU and 8 rushing touchdowns away from breaking Staley’s 24 rushing touchdowns in 2001. Allgeier had just six rushing attempts in his last game against Idaho State.

3) Hope Alive For New Year’s Six Bowl

Although the chances may be slim, BYU still has an outside shot at earning a bid to a New Year’s Six bowl game. The first and most important step for the Cougars is to win out for the rest of the season. BYU cannot look past this week’s opponent with their eyes set on greater heights.

A win over Georgia Southern this week likely won’t affect BYU’s spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Cougars are no. 14 and need to be in the Top 10 by the end of the season to be in position for a New Year’s Six bowl game. There is a shot if they can sneak into the Top 12, but a Top 10 ranking would all but guarantee BYU’s participation in the New Year’s Six.

The Cougars will need some help ahead of them to jump up in the rankings. They need Oregon to miss the College Football Playoff, but still win the Pac-12. They need Cincinnati to make history as the first Group of Five participant in the playoff era. BYU can only earn a spot in the New Year’s Six as an at-large selection. Perhaps BYU’s recent success and future move to the Big 12 will give them the benefit of the doubt. None of that matters if they don’t get a win in Statesboro on Saturday.

BYU vs. Georgia Southern takes place in Statesboro, GA at Paulson Stadium on November 20th. Pre-game coverage begins at 10 a.m. (MDT) on KSL NewsRadio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM. Kickoff is at 2:00 p.m. (MDT). Don’t miss Cougar Sports Saturday pregame with Mitch Harper and Matt Baiamonte from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (MDT).

Dallen Graff is a KSL Sports Contributor. He is the Producer of Cougar Sports Saturday (SUBSCRIBE) on KSL NewsRadio. Follow him onΒ Twitter.

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Three Storylines To Watch During BYU vs. Georgia Southern