BYU Football: Cougars Who Can Play Vanilla vs South Florida Bulls

BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick toyed with the South Florida defense for most of the Cougars’ 50-21 victory in Tampa on Saturday.

He had the luxury of size, experience, weapons and quarterback Jalen Hall. He could afford to keep it vanilla, developing a smash nose zone run game and occasionally flipping passes into deep receiver stables.

Roderick fulfilled a play-caller’s dream of establishing runs and embarrassing the Bulls defense with his passes. Hall found tight end Darrin Holker and receiver Keanu Hill for a touchdown. He completed his passes to 12 different receivers as the Cougars gained his 575 yards and the Bulls 293.

Three BYU running backs gained 50+ yards.

BYU took a 38-0 lead and tried hard to maintain interest.

It was catnip.

But BYU needs to get better in every phase next Saturday when Big 12 champion Baylor comes to Provo.

BYU’s defense allowed only 14 points. The Cougars’ cover return team gave up Jimmy Horn Jr.’s kick he gave up his TD for the other on the return.

Special team breakdowns, USF’s failed assignments in third and long plays, and the occasional loss of focus were all whiteboarded Monday as 1-0 and the No. 25 Cougars arrived in their respective position rooms. It will be displayed in.

Head coach Kalani Shitake will undoubtedly enjoy the season opener, but he will also improve in the coming days, deploying his “love and learn” philosophy.

Puka Naqua scored two rushing touchdowns on jet sweeps and Max Tooley registered a pick 6 to put the Cougars ahead 28-0 in the first quarter.

After a two-hour storm delay, it was as sweet a start as Sitake could have demanded. Cougar was brooding and introspective as the Bulls were holding a rock concert in their locker room at the time.

The sober team set the tone early on, but that was enough.

BYU’s offensive line dominated USF for half the game, enough for Cal transfer Chris Brooks to find a rhythm.

After Ropini Katoa softened the USF defense in the second half, Brooks grabbed a 50-yard touchdown and looked every bit a man expected to pick up the slack in departing Tyler Allgaier. I was.

That line play set the tone of the game early on when Blake Freeland, Maassen Wake and Brooks created a perfect crease that brought home the first play of the game for Naqua. It was a racehorse sprint of 76 yards that paid Dart to start the game.

On BYU’s next possession, Naqua ran a jet sweep to the other side, where Wake and tight end Holker led the blocking wall for another TD run.

Shitake gave the first touches to Brooks and freshman receivers Cody Epps, Terrence Fall and Chase Roberts. They passed the visual test.

He got tight end Isaac Rex on the field due to a season-ending injury last year. What matters now is how Rex feels on Sunday and Monday after playing so many downs?

Next is Naqua.

He’s the star of BYU’s Cadillac.

The Washington transfer made an electric show in the first quarter before leaving the game with a sprained ankle.

With another starter, Gunner Romney, unable to start, Naqua’s injury looms large as the Cougars head home. According to preliminary reports, trainers were wary of Naqua, putting him in protective boots and sending him to the bench in this contest, which ended early.

These guys’ status is a priority checkbox item for this team heading into a home game against 10th-placed Baylor.

BYU was supposed to look sophisticated by returning the nation’s top number of starters on the field. Done, for 261 yards and two TDs. His first pick of the season was a forced pass to Hill into the endzone when he opened Roberts near the sideline of the endzone.

It was a solid opening day win for BYU, who had an oddly late kickoff. It was this victory that was predicted and realized.

Now the hard part is Baylor and the trip to the bruised Oregon team, which was ranked No. 11 before losing to Georgia on Saturday.

They are in the weeds now.

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