Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
BYU football: Cougars say 5-0 Houston is legit, should be ranked
College football » BYU will be best team the ‘Red’ Cougars have faced.
First Published Oct 17 2013 02:01 pm • Last Updated Oct 17 2013 11:08 pm

Provo • One statistic in particular has jumped out at the BYU Cougars as they have prepared this week to take on the relatively unknown Houston Cougars in a non-conference game at Reliant Stadium on Saturday.

That statistic is turnover margin.

At a glance

The other Cougars

Where Houston ranks nationally:

Category Rank Stat

Total Offense 27 476.6 ypg

Scoring Offense 19 39.8 ppg

Total Defense 59 395.4 ypg

Scoring Defense T22 19.0 ppg

Turnover Margin 1 2.8

BYU at Houston

Saturday, 1:30 p.m.


Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Houston (5-0) leads the country in that category, with a plus-14 margin. The Cougars have forced 18 turnovers and given the ball away just four times. BYU (4-2) is tied for 96th in the country in turnover margin at minus-3, with 11 turnovers and eight takeaways.

"Oh my gosh, they major in turnovers, getting them," BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae said. "They have been outstanding at that this year. … That’s a lot of turnovers that they’ve been getting."

Some have suggested that this is a trap game for BYU, coming in between home games against Georgia Tech and Boise State, but the blue Cougars will have nothing of that notion. All week, BYU players and coaches have talked about Houston’s overall team speed, playmaking ability on offense and ballhawking on defense.

"They are undefeated, and in my opinion, that is a nationally ranked team. They should be ranked. They are 5-0," Anae said.

Perhaps because it has played only the 125th-most-difficult schedule in the country, with wins against Southern, Temple, Rice, Texas-San Antonio and Memphis, Houston is getting just a few votes in the major polls. Jeff Sagarin has Houston ranked 56th in his computerized rankings, BYU 24th.

"The kids are playing hard," Houston coach Tony Levine said in a teleconference call Monday. "I feel like we are doing what we need to do right now to win each game each week, at this point."

The Cougars have stayed unbeaten despite playing with a true freshman at quarterback, John O’Korn out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the past three games. Three-year starter David Piland, a junior, had his career ended by recurring concussions after the second game, a 22-13 win at Temple.

"Number 3, their receiver [Deontay Greenberry] is really big and fast. Number 22, their tailback [Ryan Jackson], he is lightning fast, and he’s very agile," said BYU’s All-America linebacker, Kyle Van Noy. "Their quarterback, even though he’s a freshman, he makes a lot of plays and he can scramble well. They have good, athletic guys all across the board."

story continues below
story continues below

Van Noy said Houston’s 5-0 record makes it impossible to look past the first-place team in the American Athletic Conference.

"I think with them 5-0, we want to go down there and give them their first loss," Van Noy said. "I think that’s how we look at it."

Houston is 27th in the country in total offense, averaging 476.6 yards per game, and Greenberry is 10th in the country in receptions per game (7.8) and eighth in receiving yards per game (121.2). O’Korn threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns in the 59-28 win over UTSA.

"If you hadn’t told me he was a freshman, I wouldn’t have guessed," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said.

BYU quarterback Taysom Hill said "opportunistic" is the best way to describe Houston’s defense, which is giving up quite a few yards, but not a lot of points. Houston ranks 59th in total defense, yielding 395.4 yards per game, but is tied for 22nd in scoring defense, giving up just 19.0 points per game.

"From what I’ve seen, their linebackers aren’t quite as big as we are used to, but they move around well. They are fast," Hill said. "… It should be a really good matchup."


Twitter: @drewjay

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.