College football’s first primetime FBS game was an absolute blowout. BYU out-rushed the triple option attack of Navy with 301 yards to the Midshipmen’s 119, completely controlling the game en route to a 55-3 victory. Even though we didn’t necessarily get fireworks in Annapolis, we did learn a few lessons that can be applied to all of college football.
1. You gotta tackle before the game
Prior to kickoff, Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo revealed that this game would be the first time his team participated in full contact all season. COVID restrictions prevented Navy from tackling before their first game. It showed. Of course, the timing of the triple option with a new quarterback under center was completely off. It didn’t really matter because the defense couldn’t tackle a soul. Hopefully no other college football team is forced to suffer a similar fate.
2. New Whistles
Instead of blowing spit through a whistle all over the field, officials have handheld electronic devices that call the play dead. It’s a subtle difference that you’ll hear on Saturdays this fall.
3. Value in Vocal Enthusiasm
Maryland’s governor prohibited any fans from attending Monday night’s game. It’s impossible to replicate the game-like atmosphere, but that doesn’t eliminate the ability for one team to grab momentum from the air. When BYU hit a big run early, the players on the field and the sideline went absolutely nuts. The vocal energy injected the game with juice. The Cougs drank it up and only grew louder and louder as they began to run away with the game. It did not matter last night, but the sidelines will play a significant role in creating and destroying momentum within other games this season.
4. Experience Pays Off for BYU
Especially in the trenches. Returning all five starters on the offensive line and most of their reserves, BYU completely controlled the line of scrimmage from start to finish. They created holes that you and I could run through.
Tight end/wrecking ball lined up at fullback? pic.twitter.com/ErqElTzeui
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) September 8, 2020
O-Line appreciation post ? pic.twitter.com/HP5kqXwT0Y
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) September 8, 2020
The Cougs have 15 returning starters, good enough to ranked 15th nationally in returning experience. In a year where teams didn’t get full spring practices and many have been forced to pause practices and work outs from time to time, BYU’s continuity gave them a leg up over the competition. It’s a trend that should benefit the Kentucky Wildcats, who also return 15 starters, most of which are in the trenches.