Getting To Know USC’s Week 12 Opponent: BYU Cougars

The Coliseum On Game Day. Photo Credit: Ahmad Akkaoui | LAFB Network
The Coliseum On Game Day. Photo Credit: Ahmad Akkaoui | LAFB Network

Getting To Know USC’s Week 12 Opponent: BYU Cougars

On Saturday evening the 4-6 USC Trojans will host the 9-2 BYU Cougars in a game where coach Donte Williams should throw caution to the wind. At 4-6, you don’t have much to lose, so now is the time to see what you have. With this game being at the Coliseum the Trojans could have the momentum necessary to make this a game. MyBookie has USC +7, and the Trojans will have to be much better on defense to stop this efficient Cougar offense.

2020 Season In Review

In 2019, BYU went 7-6 barely making the SoFI bowl in Hawaii, and lost a shootout to the Rainbow Warriors 38-34. This program had a major shift and decided to play each game like it was their last.

Last year in 2020, the BYU Cougars under head coach Kalani Sitake went on an impressive run with now NFL quarterback Zach Wilson. The Cougars ended the season 11-1 with their only loss coming from then red hot Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. The Cougars would go on to beat the University of Central Florida in the Boca Raton Bowl 49-23.

With an 11-1 season by any team, the fan base and program itself expect big things to come in the following year.

Key Additions And Departures

Perhaps the biggest addition to this roster would be the addition of the Nacua brothers. Puka Nacua, who currently leads the team in receptions and yards, transferred from Washington. His brother Samson Nacua, who transferred from Utah, is making an impact as well. Freshman defensive back Jakob Robinson, who transferred from Utah State, is making a huge impact for this defense tied for first on his team with three interceptions along with four passes defended. This secondary had quite the turnover with another defensive back transfer Kaleb Hayes who hasn’t logged an interception yet. However, he leads the team with eight passes defended.

There weren’t too many departures from this squad aside from the most obvious one being the former leader of this team Zach Wilson. Zach Wilson is currently the starting quarterback for the New York Jets. They would also lose Junior defensive lineman Devin Kaufusi who’d move an hour away to play for the Utah Utes.

2021 Outlook

It’d be hard for any team to repeat a season like the Cougars had in 2020 going 11-1. Although it’s what many expect considering they had not lost too much talent to warrant anything but perfection. Currently, BYU sits at 9-2 in second place right behind Notre Dame in the independent standings with a ranking of 13th in the nation.

I will say that the schedule BYU has faced this year hasn’t been the most difficult. With that being said it doesn’t matter when you come out with wins.

BYU started the 2021 season with a clean sweep of the PAC 12 defeating Arizona, Utah, and Arizona State. Two of those three teams were ranked in the top 25. Next, they’d escape a close game against South Florida and would throttle Utah State the next week. Sophomore quarterback Jaren Hall is having a great season so far with 2,300 yards passing along with 18 touchdowns.

Running back Tyler Allgeier has been outstanding this year with over 1,300 yards rushing. That puts him top 5 in the nation in yards and second in the nation in rushing touchdowns with 18. However, in the two games the Cougars lost, which would be against Boise State and Baylor, the run game wasn’t there. In their two losses, Allgeier had under 20 carries and under 75 yards rushing. It’s clear Hall can throw the ball, however, like the Trojans, balance in the offense seems to prove more effective.

Since their loss to Baylor, BYU is currently on a four-game win streak. They’ve defeated Washington State, Virginia, Idaho State, and Georgia Southern. They now look to defeat USC in their last regular-season game.

History Against The Trojans

This will only be the fourth time these two teams have played each other. The last time these two teams played was back in 2019 where USC traveled to Provo, UT. In that game, the Trojans lost 30-27 in a close game. Before the game in 2019, the last time they played was back in 2003 and 2004 where the Trojans hammered the Cougars. Coach Williams, and whoever he decides to play at quarterback, need to come out swinging and leave everything on the field. USC will look to bring the success they’ve had back in the day to help them pull off a win they so desperately need.

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