BYU football: Three things we learned from UMass

The BYU football team destroyed UMass on Saturday. Here are three things we learned from the Cougars’ convincing 51-9 victory over the Minutemen.

After a first half that was pretty disappointing, the BYU football team stormed back in the second half and shellacked the UMass Minutemen.

It was a strange day in Provo altogether, with BYU football having some different personnel on the field and still struggling to move the ball offensively.

Here are three things we learned from the all-Independent showdown.

BYU football has a thin backfield

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Jamaal Williams out. Squally Canada out. Now what?

Apparently, the answer is to feed two guys that are listed on the team website as defensive players. And you know what? It wasn’t half bad.

KJ Hall once again made an impact on the ground, averaging 5.6 yards per carry and collecting his first 100-yard rushing game. Linebacker/defensive end/ former running back Harvey Langi also got in on the fun for BYU football. Langi carried the ball 14 times for 56 yards and scored two touchdowns on the day.

While the two played well, it’d be nice if the Cougars didn’t have to rely on them to bolster the backfield. Granted, it’s not like they needed much against UMass, but here’s hoping Williams and Canada are healthy enough to go next week against Utah State.

BYU football’s passing game is still weak

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

I was thinking that this final November stretch would be a great opportunity for the Cougars to get some wide receivers involved and finish the season with some momentum.

Not quite.

Hill made some nice throws today – both from the pocket and while scrambling – but the passing game was, once again, pretty bad.

Hill completed 19-of-31 passes (61 percent), so that’s not bad. You’d like to see it higher (especially considering the opponent), but it was fine. The yardage still wasn’t there, though.

He threw for just 171 yards, marking the sixth time this season he’s failed to throw for 200 yards in a game.

On the plus side, Tanner Mangum threw a touchdown pass and nine different BYU receivers caught a pass.

The BYU defense had a ton of looks

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For the most part, the BYU football team has had the same look defensively for the entire season. The Cougars would line up in a 4-3 for the vast majority of their defensive snaps, but that changed against the Minutemen.

The Cougars started the game off in a 3-3-5 defense (likely due to Langi’s involvement with the offense), then mixed in a 4-3 and some 3-4 looks.

The calling card of defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki and head coach Kalani Sitake is that 4-man front. But it was interesting to see them mix it up. I’m not sure I like the move, mainly because Langi is one of the more talented players on the defense.

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My guess is this was done because Langi had to fill in at running back this week, so I don’t think we’ll see too much of it moving forward. But it’s nice to know the Cougars have it in their back pocket if they need it.

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