Pac-12: Cody Hoffman

Bowl primer: Fight Hunger

December, 13, 2013
12/13/13
9:00
AM ET
We continue our look at each of the Pac-12’s opponents during the bowl season.

Fight Hunger Bowl
San Francisco, Dec. 27, 6:30 p.m. PT, ESPN
Washington (8-4) vs. BYU (8-4)

Brigham Young Cougars

Coach: Bronco Mendenhall (ninth year).
Record 8-4, independent.
Combined opponent’s record: 78-67 (.537).
Common opponents: Both teams faced Boise State this year and both won. Washington beat the Broncos 38-6 in the season opener and BYU won 37-20 in late October.
Leading passer: Taysom Hill, 211-of-390 for 2,645 yards with 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Leading rusher: Taysom Hill, 215 carries for 1,211 yards with nine touchdowns.
Leading receiver: Cody Hoffman, 45 receptions for 727 yards and five touchdowns.
Leading tackler: Uani' Unga. 136 tackles.

What to know: Following a 20-13 loss to Utah in September, the Cougars went on quite the tear winning five in row, including victories over Utah State, Georgia Tech and Boise State.

Obviously from the stats, it’s easy to see that the offense runs through Hill. But he’s just one of two 1,000-yard rusher for the Cougars. Jamaal Williams also has 1,202 yards and seven touchdowns on 205 carries. So they are clearly a backfield tandem that could be a handful for the Huskies. When it’s all added up, the Cougars have the No. 10 rushing offense in the land, averaging 274.6 yards on the ground per game.

Hoffman is a dynamic receiver and -- per usual -- the Cougars present a talented defense. They yield just 21.3 points per game.

BYU closed the year winning just two of four games -- dropping contests to No. 24 Wisconsin and Notre Dame, both by 10 points.

The Cougars are making their ninth straight appearance in the postseason and have won their last four bowl games, with their last loss coming to Arizona in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl.

Key matchup: It’s been the Bishop Sankey show all year for the Huskies. No reason for that to stop now –- skeleton coaching staff or not. Expect Sankey to press a BYU front seven that has allowed a 100-yard rusher in three of its final five. But outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy has 16 tackles for a loss. The Huskies have seen plenty of A-list outside backers, and Van Noy qualifies as A-list.

Nonconference primer: Utah

July, 2, 2013
7/02/13
7:00
PM ET
We continue our series taking a closer look at each Pac-12 team's nonconference schedule.

Utah

Utah State, Aug. 29
  • Coach: Matt Wells, first year
  • 2012 record: 11-2, 6-0 WAC
  • Returning starters: eight offense, seven defense
  • Offensive headliner: We read about quarterback Chuckie Keeton in USC's preview yesterday. Snapping him the ball is standout center Tyler Larsen, who anchors a very solid offensive line.
  • Defensive headliner: Defensive end Connor Williams started all 13 games last season and earned all-league honorable mention, notching 32 tackles and seven for a loss. He also led the Aggies with six sacks.
  • The skinny: The Utah State game last year was when it all started to unravel for the Utes. Week 2, Jordan Wynn went down (unfortunately, for the final time), the offensive line looked atrocious and the Aggies won 27-20 in overtime, ending a 12-game losing streak to the Utes. As noted yesterday, the Aggies were a legit non-BCS program under Gary Andersen, so we'll see if Wells can keep it going.
Weber State, Sept. 7
  • Coach: Jody Sears (2-9), second year
  • 2012 record: 2-9, 2-6 Big Sky
  • Returning starters: seven offense, seven defense
  • Offensive headliner: Running back Bo Bolen was all-conference as a freshman and sophomore, averaging nearly 151 all-purpose yards in his first two seasons.
  • Defensive headliner: Linebacker Anthony Morales returns after earning all-league honorable mention last season. A two-time team captain, the senior led the conference with an average of 12 tackles per game.
  • The skinny: The Wildcats are replacing Mike Hoke, a two-year starter at quarterback. The competition is still on between senior Jordan Adamczyk and JC transfer Alfonso Medina. Whoever wins the job will be working with new offensive coordinator Robin Pflugrad (formerly of ASU, Washington State and Oregon). The last time the teams met was in 2008, when the No. 17 Utes won 37-21 behind a pair of touchdowns from Brian Johnson.
at BYU, Sept. 21
  • Coach: Bronco Mendenhall (74-29), ninth year
  • 2012 record: 8-5, Independent
  • Returning starters: eight offense, six defense
  • Offensive headliner: BYU's top receiver the last three years, Cody Hoffman, is back for a fourth season after catching 100 balls for 1,248 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's on pace to become the school's all-time leading receiver in catches, yards and touchdowns.
  • Defensive headliner: Outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy is one of the best in the country at his position, finishing tied for second in the nation last year in sacks and fourth nationally in tackles for a loss.
  • The skinny: Van Noy is a game-changer, and his return is a significant boost to a BYU defense that has to replace three starters along the defensive line. There is some mixing and matching to be done on the offensive line, but they'll be blocking for very good runners in Jamaal Williams and Michael Alisa. There is plenty of talent to do some damage against a schedule that includes Boise State, Texas, Wisconsin, Nevada and Notre Dame.
Thoughts: Week 1 will be critical. We need to see how the defense comes together with the new-look line and the Aggies will certainly provide a challenge there. Again, this isn't a low-level team and after winning last year, you can be sure they have developed a taste for it. Weber State isn't much of a threat and will likely provide a good opportunity to work out any Week 1 kinks that showed against Utah State. Obviously, the Holy War is the marquee game on the nonconference schedule -- especially since it goes on hiatus and bragging rights will linger. This rivalry is as heated as any in the country, and after last year's wild ending, tensions should be at a fever pitch. It took aligned stars for a good Utah State team to beat the Utes in overtime last year and with some more stability at quarterback and on the offensive line (keep an eye on LT Jeremiah Poutasi, who could be the league's next great lineman), the Utes should be better on offense. No one needs to be told how big BYU is. One game is an obvious win, the other two are "should" wins. Coming out of nonconference play at 3-0 wouldn't surprise me. But then again, neither would 2-1. 1-2 might.

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