Man this weekend was full of great games again. It’s been a couple of weeks since I focused on the Utah-based teams, so I thought I would do that again. Plus, there are two teams specifically that I want to talk about this week.
SUU vs Cal Poly
Southern Utah was so, so close with this game. Thunderbird quarterback Chris Helbig was fantastic once again as he went 19/34 for 246 yards and two touchdowns and led the team in rushing on nine carries for 43 yards. Helbig has a chance to do some special things with SUU.
There are some things that will hold him back though. The T-Birds rank near the bottom of the FCS in penalties. Most of the time these penalties come at the moment the T-Birds can’t have them. Against the Cal Poly Mustangs, one penalty sticks out the most.
After scoring touchdowns on their previous two drives and focing the Mustangs to fumble on their last possession, momentum was on the T-Birds side. For some reason, one SUU player decided to start a “fight” with a Cal Poly defender. The play was obvious to everyone and SUU was given a 15-yard penalty. That drive would end for the T-Birds two plays later.
The second thing that is costing the Thunderbirds games is their kicking game. Replacing Rashaan Miller has proven difficult for SUU. Manny Berz does not seem to have adjusted to the position change well, averaging less than 40 yards per punt, although he has a small pass for the Cal Poly game due to kicking against the wind half the time.
Kekoa Sasaoka needs to get seasoned and he needs to quick. Whatever he did at Snow College isn’t working here. Kickoffs are not even reaching the end zone, which ends up giving opposing offenses great field position. Field Goals are being missed, causing the offense to have more fourth-down conversion attempts.
But hey, maybe if that penalty didn’t happen on the previous drive, the pressure wouldn’t have been on to make the kick. Either way, both areas need physical and mental upgrades quick.
BYU vs Toledo
But I’m less concerned about the game here. I’m more concerned with BYU fans suddenly turning on head coach Kalani Sitake.
I’ll admit, the winning isn’t quite there for Sitake. But look at it like this: He is rebuilding this team. Bronco Mendenhall built his entire team around Taysom Hill. Not Tanner Mangum. Not Zach WIlson (who wasn’t even considering BYU when Bronco was there). Bronco moved on to Virginia for a reason. He didn’t think Taysom would be able to come back and saw an opportunity to get some fresh faces in.
Sitake has built winning people at BYU. Near the end of the Mendenhall era, several players started getting in public arrests. And those arrests weren’t small. His players got in big fights on the field as well. BYU even got called a dirty team when they played Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Yes, Sitake loses games that he shouldn’t. But he also wins games that he shouldn’t as well. Being the coach at BYU is about so much more than football. They expect you to build around the brand. Sitake has done a lot for that brand. BYU fans need to remember that.
Woodward is a huge reason that Utah State is able to do what they are able to do. Jordan Love is the offensive guru, but Woodward is the reason that Love can see the field more. Woodward should get selected in the NFL Draft whenever he decides to enter.
I’m ending this blog a little early this week. I’ve got some personal things going on that I need to take care of. Next week I’m hoping to go on a little bit more. For now, leave a comment and let me know what you think and let’s talk about it!