Thursday, November 13, 2003

Ismail! Detmer! It's the 1990 Heisman Trophy Race! Wait, no, no...

BYU's from the pass-wacky MWAC. Hey, their starting QB is injured! Great! Not really. QB Matt Berry is averaging 200 ypg, 100 ypg more than teammate John Beck. Both have been injured this year, but according to John Vannie of NDNation, Berry was the starter at the beginning of the year. Quarterback returning from an injury you say? It was a hand injury (I'm not sure which), but the line needs to put pressure on him to keep him from getting his rhythm back. BYU spreads the ball out fairly well, with 10 players having double digit receiving yards per game. The major threat is Toby Christensen, he of PS2 NCAA 2004 fame. He averages 49 ypg, but that's nothing "number 34" can't handle. Also look out for Chris Hale, a posession guy, and Daniel Coats the TE. The secondary gained some confidence last week, and with that, plus talent, they'll give up some yards but play well as a group.
On the other side of the ball, BYU gives up 180 ypg passing. Judging by Quinn's game last week, he should be just fine in this game. The WRs will out-athlete and the TEs will out-size BYU.
BYU is not a terrible rushing team. They gain 100 ypg on the ground, with former second-stringer Ray Brathwaite gaining 80 of those 100 yards. He's not to be taken lightly. BYU also gives up 126 ypg on the ground. Julius. Julius Julius. Julius. Then again, Grant would (or should) have a good game against this team.
On special teams, BYU appears to have a good return game, at least on kickoffs. Everyone they've put out there has a decent return average, which tells me that the blocking is good. Keep your heads in the game there, guys. On punt returns, they're not so good. No one that has multiple punt returns this year has higher than an 8 yrd average.
On special teams coverage, BYU has been not-so-good, at least according to their coach. He's using starters on coverage teams this week. Vontez and Matt Shelton and everyone else should take advantage of this. Yes, the starters are theoretically better, but they've only been practicing special teams for 2 weeks (they had a bye last week).
BYU is not a good team. Hopefully ND will play as well as they can, and not play just well enough to win.

Look for a big game from: Julius, Brady Quinn, Clark and/or Fasano, Rhema, Big Ced and Darrell throwing their weight around, last week's defensive MVP trio of Tuck BHoyte and Sapp, and Vontez the returner.

ND 34, BYU 20

I'll be "reporting live from the game," so if catch a BYU player or fan off the field, I'll be sure to interview them about Mormon Bachelor Parties.