Salt Lake Tribune columnists Kurt Kragthorpe and Gordon Monson were both mightily impressed with BYU following the Cougars’ 40-21 upset of Texas last weekend, as well as Utah’s determination to make an offensive statement against Weber State during Wednesday’s Trib Talk video chat.
But both columnists remain cautious about BYU’s long-term prospects and expect the Utes to have their hands full in Saturday’s Pac-12 opener against Oregon State.
So it went during a freewheeling 35-minute Trib Talk video chat Wednesday afternoon with host Jennifer Napier-Pearce. Monson said the Cougars badly needed the statement win they got against the (then) No. 15 Longhorns, but wondered about BYU’s ability to replicate the kind of offense it produced against a leaky Texas defense, and he remains skeptical about Cougar quarterback Tysom Hill’s ability to throw the ball.
Kragthorpe thinks Hill will pass better as the season goes on, citing the BYU QB’s solid aerial performances last year. And thinks the Cougars’ bye this week will only help them in getting ready for the September 21 showdown with Utah.
Both columnists think the Utes will prevail against the Beavers Saturday, but expect OSU quarterback Sean Mannion to test the inexperienced Ute secondary. Monson calls the conference opener a must-win for the Utes, who face UCLA, Stanford, Arizona and USC in their following four Pac-12 games.
In terms of Utah State, Monson and Kragthorpe said they weren’t surprised by the Aggies’ convincing win at Air Force in their Mountain West Conference opener. And they both expect USU to romp against Weber State in Saturday’s home opener. Kragthorpe said he will not be surprised if the Aggies use the game to help get Chuckie Keeton post some big passing numbers. The USU quarterback is a darkhorse Heisman Trophy candidate.
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