Early Analysis: Texas at BYU


No. 15 Texas (1-0) at Brigham Young (0-1)
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. EST, ESPN2
Line: Texas -7.0

After a tough 19-16 loss at Virginia, Brigham Young can’t sit around moping about what could have been.

Up next is a visit from No. 15 Texas, which looked solid in a 56-7 thumping of an overmatched North Mexico State.

Opening with Virginia, Texas and Utah is exactly what BYU wanted when it left the Mountain West for independence. However, the week-in, week-out battles can become discouraging when you lose them.

The Cougars may need a little magic to avoid a 0-2 start.

For Texas to win: Going to BYU and the thin air of Provo has doomed better teams in the past. So Mack Brown must not let this become a mental block for the Longhorns and be an excuse as to why they fall apart. Otherwise, Texas’ talent should be enough to win.

For BYU to win: Feed off the electrifying crowd at LaVell Edwards Stadium and who knows what kind of magic BYU can pull off. The Cougars also need sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill to make another big leap in his progression.

Key Player (Texas): Let’s hear it for much-maligned quarterback David Ash, who came to life against New Mexico State. Ash threw for 343 yards and rushed for an additional 91. It will be tough to duplicate this performance against the BYU defense, but he enters Saturday with a lot of confidence.

Key Player (BYU): Defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna leads a strong front that could cause the Longhorns some issues. Manumaleuna had 10 tackles in the opener and his presence could be what the Cougars need to slow down Texas.

Key Stat: BYU lost four games by a total of 13 points in 2012 and it appears, at least through one game, that the trend is going to continue.