Keys Strategies For Beating BYU


By Carra McManamon

Some call it Rivalry Week, others call it the Holy War. Either way, the Utes look to continue their dominance over BYU on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Rice-Eccles Stadium and claim another victory over the Cougars. It won’t be an easy task; rivalry week is always heated, but the Utes will win if they can do the following.

1. Stop the rhythm of BYU

One major key to this game will be to not let BYU get into any offensive rhythm. The Cougars have their starting quarterback, Taysom Hill, back for his final season. Hill is quick, can run and throw, and can turn a broken play into a successful one. What’s more, Hill has more experience than Utah’s Troy Williams. However, the Utes have one of the best defensive lines in the country and a secondary that earned the nickname of “Pick-Lake-City” last season.

The Utes had 22 interceptions last season — three of which came during the last time the two teams played. Marcus Williams, who got his first forced fumble of the season already, took advantage of the moment against SUU on Sept. 1.

“I just [saw] an opportunity, I was just chasing him down from the back and I just popped it out from the back,” Williams said. “It’s how we do it in practice.”

If the Utes are able to stop the Cougars from getting into any sort of rhythm on offense, it will be a long night for the team in blue.

“It’s our rivalry game, so practice is going to be really focused this week, and a lot of preparation is going to go into this game,” Williams said. “It will be really physical at practice. We’re just going to come out and do what we gotta do to get to W.”

2. An explosive offense

Guy Holliday will be facing his former team for the first time since taking over as the Utah wide receiver coach. The Utes’ offense is looking different for a lot of people this season. Troy Williams, a junior college transfer, has taken over as the starting quarterback with Travis Wilson graduating. Williams has the ability to both throw the ball and run, and with guidance from Holliday, the receiving corps is getting better.

Williams knows he can put the ball in the air and expect teammates to catch it. The run game will also be a key factor in this game. Troy McCormick is back after battling a knee injury, and he’s eager to help the team fill in any gaps.

“I want to be a part of the passing game too,” McCormick said. “I don’t want to be labeled as just a running back. I just want to be labeled as a play-maker.”

3. The crowd must be loud and proud

Rice-Eccles is going to be rocking on Saturday night. Tickets are sold out for the rivalry game.

This is Troy Williams’ first time playing in the rivalry game, and the Utes are looking to make it six in a row against the Cougars. From the 3rd down jump by The MUSS to the amped up fans in the North End Zone, the crowd will play a huge role in helping the Cougars stay out of rhythm.

“I’m excited to get out there against BYU,” Williams said.

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