College Football Preview Week 3: Florida State vs. BYU

This Saturday, the 1-1 Flordia State Seminoles travel to BYU to take on the 2-0 Cougars.  BYU comes into this match up, trying to keep their momentum for a legitimate shot at a BCS game, while Florida State is still attempting to show the college football world that they are on their way back to their dominant days of the 1990’s.

In this week three game preview, College Footblog will cover some key concerns for each team in this contest, analyze the match ups in the game, and we will finally give a game prediction.

Max Hall has picked up right where he left off last season

Max Hall has picked up right where he left off last season


Strengths:  Max Hall has been as good as advertised , completing over 70% of his passes in 2009.  More important than stats, however, is the poise and leadership he has displayed, particularly in the opening day match up against the Oklahoma Sooners. 

In that 14-13 thriller over OU, Hall threw for 329 yards and led the Cougars on 16-play, 78-yard touchdown drive to ultimately take down the Sooners, in what may as well have been a home game for OU–the game was at the new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, TX. 

Another strength of this BYU team to which few have given credit is head coach Bronco Mendenhall’s defensive unit.  The Cougar defense showed multiple fronts and shifts that confused Oklahoma’s offense in week one.

The BYU defense knocked last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford  out of the game, but while he was playing, he was fairly ineffective, only throwing for 96 yards and a touchdown.


Strengths:  Christian Ponder has really stepped up his game this season.  Going into the season, there were some real question marks about his ability to throw the football.  In his first two games in 2009, Ponder has completed over 60% of his passes for 618 yards. 

As with Hall’s performance against OU, Ponder has been clutch down the stretch for the ‘Noles.  In each of FSU’s games this season, he has engineered drives at the end of the game to give his team a chance to win the game.  Against rival, Miami in week one, Ponder led his offensive to the one-yard line and threw a low, but catchable ball to an open receiver, but the pass was unfortunately dropped.

In the less than stellar FSU effort against Jacksonville State last weekend, it was Ponder again, leading his team down the field when the game was on the line.  He again, got the ball to the one-yard line, but this time, the ‘Noles capped off the drive with a touchdown run from sophomore tailback Ty Jones.


BYU Offense vs. FSU Defense

FSU’s front seven is much bigger and more physical than last year’s team, particularly at the linebacker positions.  Led by senior outside linebacker, Dekoda Watson, FSU has not allowed 100 total yards rushing in either of their games this season.  The pass defense has been quite the opposite, as the ‘Noles have allowed just under 300 yards per game through the air.

Max Hall has thrown for more than 300 yards in each of his first two contests, and his stats could be better if the Cougars did not call off the dogs against Tulane last week, on their way to a convincing 54-3 victory.  EDGE BYU


Jermaine Thomas is averaging just 2 yards per carry vs. his 7 yards per carry in 2008

Jermaine Thomas is averaging just 2 yards per carry vs. his 7 yards per carry in 2008

FSU Offense vs. BYU Defense

As mentioned, Bronco Mendenhall’s defense has been fantastic this season.  We will find out on Saturday whether their dominating performance against Oklahoma was their schemes and heady play, or if the Sooner offense  is simply not what we all expected them to be this year.  I believe it is a combination of both.

FSU’s only chance to keep Max Hall from beating them is to develop a respectable ground game to compliment Christian Ponder and his stable of receivers.  A decent running game will open things up for Jimbo Fisher’s offense, but it will also go a long way to keep Hall off the field.

After finishing second in the ACC in rushing last year, the ‘Noles have not gotten it done on the ground in ’09.  Jermaine Thomas and the rest of the backs for FSU must step up his game if the Seminoles are going to get it done in Provo on Saturday.

Ponder and his options at receiver will put up some numbers in this one, without a running game, BYU will be able to give too many looks and coverages in their pass defense.  SLIGHT EDGE FSU

Special Teams

Florida State’s true freshman kicker, Dustin Hopkins, started his career on the right note, hitting a 52-yard field goal on his first attempt.  Since then, however, Hopkins has missed a field goal attempt and two extra points.  FSU’s kick off coverage has also been horrible, especially in the Labor Day match up against Miami.  The silver lining for the ‘Noles is that they do have some game breakers at returner.  Freshman Greg Reid and sophomore Bert Reed are extremely dangerous with the ball in their hands.


BYU has a senior kicker in Mitch Payne, and he will be kicking at home, so expect him to do his job.  As with the rest of the team, the Cougers’ special teams may not have as much speed as FSU but they are very smart and disciplined.  EDGE BYU.


Florida State needs to establish the run early to keep Max Hall and company off the field.  Christian Ponder will continue to grow in this one, although the statistics may not show it at the final whistle.  Unless FSU’s secondary and pass rush get exponentially better in one week of practice, Hall will have a very big day.  In the end, I think the BYU passing attack will be too much for FSU–tough to guess a score on this one, but I will go with BYU 42, FSU 24.



1 Response to “College Football Preview Week 3: Florida State vs. BYU”

  1. 1 Carries Vs Carrys | Trackback on May 6, 2011 at 1:47 am

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