Thursday, August 28, 2008
Preview: Northern Iowa
What: BYU vs. Northern Iowa
When: August 30, 2008; 4 p.m. MDT
Where: LaVell Edwards Stadium
Of Interest: The Northern Iowa Panthers are an FCS (formerly Div. 1-AA) team. They are currently ranked #3 in the FCS poll. Their record against FBS (formerly div. 1-A) opponents is 20-60-5. BYU is currently ranked #16, and the Panthers are 0-3 all time vs. ranked FBS opponents. Last season Northern Iowa beat in-state rival Iowa State 24-13. Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner is a UNI alum.
About the Panthers: UNI is a powerhouse program in the FCS. They will contend for an FCS championship this year, as they have done consistently over the past few years (they lost in the semifinals to Delaware last year).
Key Returner: Star running back Corey Lewis. Lewis ran for 1,513 yards and 16 TDs last year. To give some perspective, Luke Staley, star running back for BYU, ran for 1,596 yards in 2001.
Key Losses: The Panthers lost four starters on the offensive line last year (two to the NFL) and their starting quarterback. They will be young and inexperienced in the lines and under center, but UNI returns a fair amount of players on defense and have a strong wide receiver core.
Matching up: One of the most obvious advantages for BYU is the trenches. BYU's offensive line weighs in at an average of 326.4 pounds, and will face a UNI defensive front that weighs an average 272 pounds. On the other side of the ball, BYU's d-line checks in at 278, while the Panther O-line weighs an average of 301 pounds per player.
The UNI linemen are small, and as was mentioned earlier they are inexperienced. Four offensive linemen will be making their first collegiate start, and will be forced to take on all-MWC defensive end Jan Jorgenson and a cadre of talented BYU defensive linemen.
On offense, BYU's line is big, tall, deep and experienced. Look for BYU to dominate the trenches throughout the game.
UNI's advantage: A speedy tailback who can rack up the yards and a tough quarterback who can run effectively.
BYU's advantage: Strong, physical linemen and tailbacks, and a deep offense that includes a seasoned quarterback and several weapons.
Adam's Take: Bronco and the boys are talking up UNI big time. Almost to the point that I'm a little nervous. But then I calm down and remember we're playing Northern Iowa.
The BYU team is decidedly NOT looking past the outmatched Panthers, and the Appalachian State/Michigan fiasco is still fresh on everyone's mind. For that reason, BYU will come out ready to play and will dominate this fine FCS team like they should.
I expect the Panthers to put a few points on the board, on account of their running QB and Corey Lewis, but BYU will ultimately smother them with fine defense, and cut their hearts out with a wide array of offensive firepower. Additionally, we will own the trenches all afternoon. The line play will ensure a Cougar victory.
Final Score: BYU 52, UNI 17
(Sources: BYU news release, UNI news release)
Other Notes that have nothing to do with the game:
*You all have until tomorrow (Friday) at noon to get me your picks for the Pick 'em game. If you don't do it this week you can start next week, but you'll be at a scoring disadvantage having missed one game.
*If you haven't already, you need to check out Quinn Gooch's football blog: Deepshadesofblue.com. Gooch is the man, and he offers some inside insight into BYU football.
*I watched Legends: LaVell Edwards on the Mtn. last night. You all need to see that show. It made me remember why I love BYU so dang much. It airs again tonight at 6 p.m.