Call me crazy, as disappointed as I am about the Taysom Hill injury going forward as the future QB of the program, but I think Riley Nelson gives the BYU offense the best chance at putting up points THIS season. He has more chemistry with the wide-receivers and if he is at least somewhat healthy going forward, and Brandon Doman can limit the amount of times he runs the ball, then I think BYU has a shot at winning any of the remaining games on the schedule. Why you ask? We have known since essentially week 1 this season that this BYU defense is good, but we've now seen them hold opponents to no TD's for 13 straight quarters and we can safely say that this Cougar defense is top 10 in the nation, at least.
Looking forward to the Oregon St. matchup this week, BYU benefits from another team with an injured QB. Sean Mannion needs knee surgery and will be replaced by a QB named Cody Vaz who has yet to start a football game since High School. If the BYU defense was able to hold the Boise St. offense to 0 TD's, on the blue turf, after the Cougar offense turned it over 5 times, only to follow it up with shutting out Hawaii and holding Utah St. (arguably the best offense in the state of Utah, okay not arguably, they are) to 3 points last Friday night, then how can we expect Cody Vaz and Oregon St to put up points this Saturday afternoon in the first ever BYU blackout game?! Regarding the blackout in an afternoon game, doesn't that basically erase the entire idea of a BLACKOUT? I'm furious about this.
Anyway, I expect Oregon St., despite their #10 ranking in the nation, to struggle big time on the offensive side of the ball and I expect the BYU offense and Riley Nelson to score more than just 6 points, although 6 points might win us this one anyway.
BYU 20, Oregon State 6
The primary answer is that I refuse to pick against BYU's monstrous defense. My mind knows that, at some point, this until will be asked to save the day one too many times and they won't be able to come through. However, my heart refuses to believe that day will ever come. They have been so utterly dominant over the past month that I won't allow myself to see any conceivable way that changes. You simply don't score on these guys. Period.
But that's only part of the equation. The other part is that the Beavers' offense is not what it once was. This isn't the same unit that got them to this point. With Sean Mannion out with an injury, Oregon State will have to rely on an untested quarterback in his first career start. Lining up across from Kyle Van Noy and the boys in a hostile environment should prove to be a most unfriendly welcome for Cody Vaz.
There won't be many points scored in this game. I'm still not convinced Riley is healthy. But given the defensive support he's likely to receive, he should be able to "grit" out enough points to get it done in front of a homecoming crowd chock full of blue (black?) hairs
BYU 13, Oregon State 10
Oregon State is better than they were last year, but I just don't know how much better. BYU work them over last year in their own house. They weren't a good team at all last year, and I am supposed to believe they are now the 10th best team? No, no, no.
True, this weekend won't be an accurate depiction of the improvement of this team. Their much-improved starting QB is out, so conventional wisdom would tell you BYU's defense shouldn't have too much difficulty in stopping the OSU offense. The only question for BYU's success on Saturday is will the offense step up and score some points against an improved OSU defense?
BYU's offense has looked about as potent as Screech Powers' dating life in a couple of games this year, but those were against top-30 defenses. BYU's offense won't be confused with a top offense, by any stretch of the imagination, but they are capable of putting some points on the board -- in spite of what past experience might tell you. The good news is since it is so hard to tell what BYU's offense is up to (for good or for bad), that could make things difficult on OSU.
I think the touchdown-less streak continues through this game, extending to 17 quarters without an opponent offensive TD, and BYU's offense looks better than it did against USU and Boise State.
BYU 20, Oregon State 3