BYU COUGARS

Key Questions Answered In BYU Football’s Win Against Sam Houston

Sep 3, 2023, 12:16 AM | Updated: 12:24 am

PROVO, Utah – The BYU Cougars opened the 2023 football season as a member of the Big 12 conference with a 14-0 win over Sam Houston.

It wasn’t pretty, but with so many new faces in the Cougar program, a win is a win.

Especially for the opening game of the season.

Let’s break down the first BYU football game as a power football program with some answered questions.

Who was the MVP for BYU football?

After an opening-drive touchdown run by Kedon Slovis, it felt like the transfer quarterback from Pitt would run away with MVP honors.

Unfortunately, penalties and a subpar running game made things difficult for the offense.

BYU was stalwart on defense all night long, but two sequences in the third quarter swung the game.

After a botched fake punt, Sam Houston was threatening to tie the game with the ball inside the five-yard line.

Jakob Robinson made a great play in the end zone to intercept Keegan Shoemaker, which ended a serious Bearkat scoring threat.

He made another interception later in the quarter near mid-field on another key third-down stop.

It was an impressive play made in front of the Sam Houston bench.

Robinson had one previous game with more than one interception in his career. It happened back in 2021 against Georgia Southern.

What was the most impactful play of the game?

It’s hard to go against the first interception made by Jakob Robinson, but I’ll say it was the second running touchdown of the night for Kedon Slovis.

After true freshman LJ Martin entered the game and gave the ground attack a major boost, Slovis finished off the scoring drive with a QB sneak.

The touchdown gave BYU a double-digit lead for the first time in the game.

I would have loved to see Martin get the first touchdown of his career on that drive, but a touchdown in any form was much needed.

What was the most interesting stat of the game?

The BYU football defense was not good in 2022, ranking in the bottom 10 in FBS for total defense.

Not helping the cause was an inability to get stops on third down, where they ranked 95th in the country last year.

Heading into the Big 12, head coach Kalani Sitake hired Jay Hill away from Weber State to take over the defense.

Sam Houston isn’t considered to be an offensive juggernaut, however, early signs of improvement were evident.

The Cougar defense held Sam Houston to 2 for 14 conversions on third down.

They’ll win a lot of football games when opponents only convert 14 percent of their attempts on third down.

It was the first shutout for BYU football under Sitake.

When was the game over for BYU football?

Sam Houston got the ball back, down 14 points in the middle of the 4th quarter.

They needed to score quickly if they wanted to make things interesting in their first game as an FBS program.

Facing a third down, Malik Phillips got chopped down by Kamden Garrett, and the Bearkats elected to punt the ball away.

There wasn’t enough time on the clock when Sam Houston got the ball one final time in the 4th quarter to threaten BYU.

Eddie Heckard closed the door for good with a late-game interception.

You can hear Matt Baiamonte every Saturday on KSL Newsradio for Cougar Sports Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. or you can find him on Twitter.

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Key Questions Answered In BYU Football’s Win Against Sam Houston