Arizona vs


at Glendale, AZ
Sat, Sep 3
Fox Sports 1
7:30 PM Pacific
Rotation: 205
Odds: BYU -1, Total: 60.5

Game Analysis

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Strong Opinion – OVER (60 ½) – Brigham Young (-1)  36   Arizona  32

The super talented Taysom Hill has been lost to season ending injuries three times in his career, but he is reportedly 100% and has won the starting quarterback job at BYU over Tanner Mangum, who took over after Hill was injured in the 2nd half of last season’s opening game at Nebraska. BYU won that game on a Hail Mary pass from Mangum’s arm but it was Hill that put the Cougars in position to win with his 257 yards on 37 pass plays (6.9 yppp) and 83 yards on 6 runs. Hill became a star in 2013 with 1571 yards on the ground (on 219 runs) and his passing improved from being 0.2 yards per pass play worse than average that season (5.6 yppp against teams that would allow 5.8 yppp to an average quarterback) to being 0.6 yppp better than average (6.2 yppp against teams that would allow 5.6 yppp to an average QB) in 5 starts in 2014 before an injury ended his season. Hill also added 532 yards on 73 runs in those 5 games and has averaged an impressive 7.4 yards each time he takes off and runs the ball, which he does often. The running makes Hill dangerous to opposing defenses and he proved himself to be far more accurate the last two seasons over the 6 games he played in, as Hill completed 109 of 166 passes (65.7%) the last two years after completing a modest 54.6% in 2012 and 2013. Hill was 0.5 yppp better than average in those 6 starts and I expect about that same level this season. If Hill runs like he has throughout his career, and there is no indication that he won’t, then BYU will have a good offense that I rate at 0.6 yards per play better than average.

The Cougars should move the ball well in this game against a suspect Arizona defense that allowed an average of 36 points and 6.1 yppl last season (against teams that would average 5.7 yppl against an average team). I expect an improvement with former Boise State defensive coordinator Marcel Yates taking over the Wildcats’ defense this season. However, I still rate Arizona’s defense as average and the only time they’ve been better than average under coach Rich Rodriguez was in 2013 when they had all 11 starters returning. Arizona has potential to be better than average defensively this season but my algorithm is calling for a 0.4 yppl improvement and my ratings project BYU with 494 yards at 6.4 yards per play.

Arizona should have success offensively too, as the Wildcats should be just as good on the attack as they were last season when they averaged 6.5 yards per play (against teams that would allow 5.7 yppl against an average team). Anu Solomon, who was the starter the last two seasons, and sophomore backup Brandon Dawkins are both capable of doing damage. Solomon is more established as a passer but Dawkins is a more gifted runner. BYU’s new defensive coordinator will have his hands full. The Cougars were good defensively in recent years and they were 0.5 yppl better than average last season but not having former head coach and DC Bronco Mendenhall coaching the defense is likely to have a negative affect. This year’s team has 7 returning starters and pretty good talent but they may not be as good as they were last season without Mendenhall making the defensive calls – although I do have them rated only 0.1 yppl worse heading into this season. The advantage goes to the Arizona offense, as I project 460 yards at 6.0 yppl for the Wildcats in this contest.

I appears to me that BYU is underrated and that the total on this game is a bit low. BYU figures to have a slower pace this year with Hill’s return leading to more running plays (and thus, less clock stoppages), but Arizona runs and up-tempo attack and my model projects 153 total plays in this game. I like BYU, but I think the Over is a better play since BYU could be worse defensively than my numbers project without Mendenhall leading that unit. I’ll consider the OVER (60 ½) a Strong Opinion at 62 points or less.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Arizona
  • BYU


  • Run Plays 39.6 38.4
  • Run Yards 248.4 184.4
  • YPRP 6.6 5.2


  • Pass Comp 16.6 21.4
  • Pass Att 28.4 34.8
  • Comp % 58.5% 61.5%
  • Pass Yards 196.6 275.6
  • Sacks 2.0 2.2
  • Sack Yards 11.8 15.0
  • Sack % 6.6% 5.9%
  • Pass Plays 30.4 37.0
  • Net Pass Yards 184.8 260.6
  • YPPP 6.1 7.0


  • Total Plays 70.0 75.4
  • Total Yards 445.0 460.0
  • YPPL 6.4 6.1


  • Int 0.6 1.0
  • Int % 2.1% 2.9%
  • Fumbles 0.4 0.8
  • Turnovers 1.0 1.8
  • Points 29.2 29.4
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