Can there be any positives in a 42-10 loss? There were a few. Despite being overmatched physically, the BYU defense played hard all night long, and held Trojan quarterback Matt Leinart to 22 completions in 35 tries, only slightly better than John Beck's 18 of 35. Leinart was also intercepted once, his first this year in 101 attempts dating back to last year. He was also forced to scramble several times despite good pass protection, an indication that BYU's secondary, often unable in prior years to keep track of opponents' faster receivers, had everything in check downfield.
The Cougar defense has found it nemesis. In 1813, Oliver Hazard Perry famously reported, "We have met the enemy and he is ours." Now, BYU defenders can join with "Pogo" creator Walt Kelly in paraphrasing Perry when he remarked, "We have met the enemy and he is us."
Southern Cal controlled the ball for nearly 37 minutes, running 85 plays to the Cougars' 58. Only once did BYU string together 10 plays in a row, culminating in Matt Payne's 48 yard field goal. Out of 14 possessions, 11 consisted of five plays or fewer. No defense, left on the field as long as the Cougars' were, can long hope to contain a team with as many weapons as the Trojans possess.
BYU head coach Gary Crowton was forced to abandon the option because of Beck's injured shoulder. Without the threat of a running game, USC's defense was able to put intense pressure on Beck. Despite the Cougars' one dimensional offense, Beck performed well showing continued improvement, finding seven different receivers -- including four receptions apiece for his go-to receivers Todd Watkins and Austin Collie.
Next up: Sept. 24 (Friday) at No. 23 Boise State, 8 p.m.
San Diego State 21, Michigan 24
Despite struggling in the Mountain West, the Aztecs nearly upset a nationally-ranked powerhouse on the road for the second straight year. Last year it was a 16-13 loss in the Horseshoe to then No. 2 Ohio State. SDSU visited ‘The Big House' and led the Wolverines 21-17 in the third quarter before losing 21-24. The Aztec defense limited the hosts to 327 total yards of offense, while picking up 311 of their own. Despite trailing 17-7 in the first quarter, the Aztecs fought back.
Next up: Sept. 25 vs. Nevada
Utah 48, Utah State 6
The Utes did not spend the week reading their press clippings and it showed. It was all Utah from the get-go and the visitors scored touchdowns on six of their first seven possessions to lead 41-0 at halftime. Head coach Urban Meyer called off the dogs early in the second half.
Next up: Sept. 25 vs. Air Force
Air Force 27, UNLV 10
In what was easily their best game of the year, the Falcons rolled up 417 yards of total offense on the home-standing Rebels, including 139 in the air. Quarterback Shaun Carney was 12-14 with no interceptions as Air Force possessed the ball for an amazing 40:29.
Next up: Sept. 25 at Utah
New Mexico 7, Oregon State 17
The Lobos ventured from the desert to the rain-soaked Northwest and looked awful doing it. They picked up only 10 first downs and 114 total offensive yards. Two New Mexico quarterbacks combined for only seven completions in 30 attempts, and the Lobos only touchdown was a 70-yard fumble return.
Next up: Sept. 25 at New Mexico State
Colorado State 16, Minnesota 34
For the first time a Big 10 team visited Ft. Collins and the Rams went out of their way to make sure the visitors felt welcome – turning the ball over four times versus none for the visitors, surrendering 504 yards of total offense. After the Gophers went up 14-3 in the first quarter, the Rams were never within 10 points. For the first time in head coach Sonny Lubick's 12 years, his team opened 0-3. Quarterback Justin Holland was the main culprit, completing a respectable 25 of 41, but throwing three interceptions against only one touchdown.
Next up: Sept. 25 vs. Montana State
Wyoming did not play. Next up: Sept. 25 vs. Mississippi.
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