West Virginia Expects Gritty, Physical Game From BYU's Offense

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Al-Rasheed Benton has already logged solid stats of a dozen tackles and one interception across the first two games of the season.

This Saturday, Al-Rasheed Benton helps lead a West Virginia defense that expects to be challenged by perhaps the most solid all around offense they've faced in BYU. Despite being just 1-2, the Cougars only lost their two games by a small margins of three and one points, respectively. After a strong defensive showing in week one and a subpar defensive performance against Youngstown State two weeks ago, WVU needs their defense to be consistently stout as Big 12 Conference games loom. 

"We have been working on consistency." Benton said. "You want to play well every time and play a good game every time you step on the field. We had some plays we should have made and didn't, and we have been working on that. I expect to see a big jump. It's technique. Guys went away from their technique a little bit and it showed. We have been working on being technique sound. The way these guys play we have to match that or do it even better to win this game. That will be key.

"It's little things. Getting used to our body position and making plays when we are in position. I think that was the difference between what we did in game one and game two. We have have working on that and I expect to see a better showing in this game coming up."

With BYU being another non conference opponent, West Virginia has reviewed film of the Cougs' games against Pac-12 teams such as Arizona, Utah, and UCLA. The Cougars have racked up solid yardage stats, but been largely unable to put the ball in the end zone, having averaged just 17 points. First-year offensive coordinator Ty Detmer is installing a pro-style offense, and has suffered through some early transition issues. But as always, Brigham Young is playing sound, smart fundamental football and refraining from self-inflicted mistakes.

"You can see how they will try to block certain run plays and how they will attack a defense." Benton said. "Arizona runs a similar defense to what we do, so that was a game which was key to see how they attacked it. Any time you can watch the team you are coming up against, no matter who they are playing against, you can pick some things up. We have a lot of guys who are in their third game playing now, so the film will help them mentally."

BYU has flashed some solid offensive averages with 126.3 rushing yards and 212.3 passing yards per game. But the Cougars are struggling to find a strength, even with talented skill position players and an offensive line that would fit well in any Power Five conference. Benton noted that, regardless of talent level, Brigham Young continues to showcase itself as among the well-regimented programs - thought it should be noted BYU has been hit with 20 penalties this season, two more than its opponents. It averages 64 penalty yards per game, and has at times gotten behind the sticks because of false starts and holding calls. 

"Those guys are very experienced. They play very technically sound and they know where they are supposed to be on every play." Benton said.  "You get yourself out of position and their technique will beat you. That's something we have been working on, and it'll show Saturday. It doesn't matter who those guys play, they line up and play well. They are 1-2 but every game has been close. They come to play every week whether it's a Big 12 team or a Pac-12 team."

West Virginia plays BYU at FedEx Field, a neutral site, before returning to Morgantown next Saturday, Oct.1 against Big 12 rival Kansas State. Kickoff for both games in 3:30 p.m.


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