BYU football: Cougars must tackle better this week against Georgia Tech
Provo • The BYU Cougars dropped from No. 3 to No. 8 in the nation in rushing defense after allowing Notre Dame to pick up 270 yards on the ground on Saturday.
But they moved up from No. 5 to No. 4 in the country in total defense after giving up 389 total yards to the Irish.
They dropped from No. 7 to No. 8 in scoring defense and are now allowing exactly 14 points a game. They are No. 18 in pass defense (183.75).
"You are only as good as your record, obviously, but I don't feel like we are a 4-4 team," linebacker Brandon Ogletree said. "I mean, we have a chance to beat some really good teams, and for whatever reason, we haven't done it. We need to find out what that is and finish the season strong."
The entire defense will be tested again this week, coach Bronco Mendenhall said Tuesday.
Georgia Tech is ranked third in the country in rushing offense, gaining a whopping 339.57 yards per game on the ground with its triple-option attack.
Missed tackles by several Cougars helped the Irish move the ball on the ground, but Mendenhall said he's not too concerned about that this week.
"I was really impressed with Notre Dame's runners," he said. "They had three of 'em, and ... we missed some [tackles] the first and second plays of the game, and so I realized right then that they were good. They had quite a few yards after contact, and broke a lot of tackles."
Get off their backs
BYU's injury-plagued offensive line is often fingered as one of the causes for the Cougars' offensive woes, but quarterback Riley Nelson says fans need to lay off the starting unit that now includes a freshman, two sophomores, a junior and a senior.
"I love those dudes. They are battlers. Each and every one of them just comes to practice every day with a blue-collar attitude, and they are doing everything they can to help the team whenever called upon," Nelson said. Braden Hansen's groin injury "just goes to show you that you are just one play away and that you owe it to your team to be ready. I think those guys have done a good job."
Passing the eye test
The Cougars aren't generally considered one of the more physically imposing teams in college football, but Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson says they are just that.
"The quarterback and tailback are good players, and they'll be huge on the offensive line," Johnson said Tuesday. "They'll have guys. They'll pass the look test. I played them many times when I was at the University of Hawaii, and you won't play many teams that look better getting off the bus than BYU."
BYU at Georgia Tech
P Saturday, 1 p.m. MT
TV • ROOT Sports