Saturday cannot come fast enough for cougar fans and college football fans alike. This Saturday marks a historic game for the BYU faithful, as the path of Independence starts in Oxford Mississippi against Ole Miss. Being a season opener, anything can happen (and probably will). So here are the keys to how both teams can come out on top and start their season on the right foot.
3 Keys to BYU win:
Execute. Bronco's favorite verb to use when talking about what they need to do to be successful. It has never been more true. BYU won't have better athletes on the field against Ole Miss, but they will have experience and fundamentals. If BYU limits turnovers and runs their revamped offense like they can, they will come out on top.
Stop the Run. The Rebels are going to be a run heavy offense, riding the back of senior running back Brandon Bolden (pre-season all SEC running back). Having a new quarterback to break in, makes the play book a little smaller, thus making it a little more predictable. This also plays into the cougars defensive prowess, the front 7. Look for the LB's the be active and to make some noise early.
Get to Brunetti. A young quarterback, is a vulnerable quarterback. The pass rush of BYU has never really been their calling card. However, if BYU can put pressure on the young signal caller and force him to make mistakes, the Rebels could be in for a long long day.
3 Keys to Ole Miss win:
Roll with Bolden. Ride your senior running back as much as BYU will let you. He is the most proven form of offense returning from a rough 2010. If he gets behind the massive offensive line and finds the holes, the BYU defense will get tired really fast in the humid environment of the deep south.
Create turnovers on Defense. BYU's offense is good. In fact, they are really good. Weapons are anywhere and everywhere for Jake Heaps to get the pigskin too. If Ole Miss can find a way to snag a pass, or cause a fumble and thus create some home town momentum, that could be a huge thing for an offense that I just dont see as one that can march down the field 80 yards and score.
Clock Management. If they are able to succeed with the first key, then this one should come right along with it. Running the ball successfully will help keep the BYU offense off the field and create more opportunities for a lower scoring game. If this gets into a shootout, I believe BYU is better equipped for such a game and would come out on top. Keeping the cougar offense off the field is how you keep points of the board.
WHO WINS: I just dont see Ole Miss having an offense that can outshoot BYU's. The cougars have too many returning weapons on the wings and up the gut. Ole miss is returning one of the worst defenses in the SEC last year, and still missing the piece necessary to be successful on that side of the ball. Jake Heaps ended 2010 hot and has even more weapons at his disposal, not to mention a full spring and summer with all the reps with the first team. The only offensive weapon Ole Miss has (proven anyways), plays right into BYU's defensive strength, the front seven. I see a couple mistakes early for both teams, usual for season openers, but BYU's being of less impact.
PREDICTION: BYU 30 Ole Miss 17