2014 Season Recap
The BYU Cougars started off the 2014 season hot on a four-game winning streak with wins over some pretty big names like Virginia and Texas. Only to have their streak came to a halt with a four-game losing streak to Utah State, UCF, Nevada, and Boise State. They were able to regroup and finish out the season strong on another 4 game win streak and make it to the Miami Beach Bowl. However, they weren't able to keep that streak going with a double OT loss to Memphis.
Series: 10-6 San Jose State
Coach Resume: Bronco Mendenhall (90-39, 11th year)
Mendenhall got his first HC gig ever at BYU back in 2005, subsequently starting off with a very average 6-6 record. Since then he was able to rip off four straight seasons of double-digit wins, before posting a seven-win season. The last three seasons he's stayed consistently at an 8-5 record. Will this be a season where BYU finds a way to get back in to the double-digit victories?
Returning QB: Yes
Taysom Hill returns as BYU's starting quarterback. Hill started out last year at the helm for the Cougar offense, leading them to a 4-0 record and throwing for 975 yards and had seven touchdowns to just three interceptions. However, his season was cut short as he missed the final eight games due to fracturing his leg against Utah State. Even with missing half of the season, he is still a way-too-early Heisman candidate.
Biggest problem: Will Hill be able to come back at the same level?
Despite having starting experience, Hill will be coming back from a fractured leg. That can be a problem for a mobile quarterback who rushed for 463 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Also, does the early Heisman hype become too much of a distraction or place too much pressure on Hill?
Biggest Strength: Offensive line
If Hill does have a step back in his production, it won't be because of his offensive line. The line will return its five starters from the previous year. Tejan Koroma (sophomore), Kyle Johnson (Junior), Ryker Mathews (Senior), Ului Lapuaho (sophomore), and Tuni Kanuch (sophomore), will all come back for this upcoming season. This line mixes in a good blend of guys who have been around for a few years with some younger guys who still have starting experience.
Offensive Scheme: West Coast offense
Four players to know:
Taysom Hill (quarterback) Despite noting earlier that he may not live up to his stats from last season coming off of that fractured leg injury, this guy is still someone to watch as he has some quality dual threat abilities. For playing in only four games, his stats last year were still pretty amazing, throwing for 975 yards for 7 touchdowns, while rushing for 463 yards and an additional 8 touchdowns.
Jamaal Williams (running back) Leading the cougars last year in rushing with 515 yards and 4 touchdowns, Williams is looking to improve upon those numbers with a more experienced offensive line returning.
Mitch Mathews (receiver) Mathews had a very good season despite not having his starting quarterback for the final 8 games. Coming off of a season where he caught 73 balls for 922 yards and 9 touchdowns. Look for those numbers to dramatically increase with Hill back at full strength.
Bronson Kaufusi (linebacker) Leading the team in sacks (7), tackles for loss (11.5), forced fumbles (1), and quarterback hurries (4), Bronson knows how to wreak havoc in the backfield. Not only does he create problems in the backfield, he isn't all that bad in pass coverage, breaking up five passes.