Week 2 - Texas at BYU

Posted Sep 6, 2013

Week 2 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Texas at BYU

Texas (1-0) at BYU (0-1) Sept. 7, 7:00, ESPN2

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Texas looked a lot better. Beating up New Mexico State isn't a strong indicator of much, but it's a positive that the Longhorns were explosive, sharp – at least after the first quarter – and dominant. Now it's time to start playing well for real and show everyone that yeah, this is Texas, and it's time to start thinking about BCS championship possibilities. With Ole Miss coming up next, followed up by Kansas State, the tests are about to come. Meanwhile, BYU's season is basically over. With no conference title to play for and the bowl tie-in with the Kraft Fight Hunger set, the Cougars probably have to run the table to be in the BCS mix, and it's not going to be easy with road games at Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Utah State still to play. But for now, after a tough and wildly disappointing 19-16 loss to Virginia, a big win is a must to kickstart the season. BYU is 2-1 in the series, winning in 1987 and 1988, but losing 17-16 two years ago.

Why Texas Might Win: BYU had better find some offensive pop in a big hurry. The passing game went nowhere against Virginia and the running game, while productive at times thanks to Jamaal Williams' 144 yards on 33 carries, didn't control the game in any way. The Cougar defense didn't have many problems against a Virginia offense that came up with just 233 yards, but Texas has more weapons, more speed and more depth. The Cougars have to be able to convert drives into points, but the ground game isn't going to have as much success this week against an improved Longhorn defensive front.

Why BYU Might Win: The defense looks like it's the real deal. While Kyle Van Noy gets all the press, against Virginia is was linebacker Uani Unga who cleaned things up against the run with ten tackles, and nose tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna controlling the line and gumming up the works. The run defense should be among the best in the country all season long, which means it'll be up to David Ash to be more of a passer. He'll face a tougher pass rush than he did last week, meaning he won't get as much time to let the downfield plays develop.

Who To Watch Out For: Is Daje Johnson the new Tavon Austin? The Texas sophomore exploded against New Mexico State with a 66-yard touchdown catch to go along with a 24-yard scoring dash. He's a do-it-all weapon who finished fourth on the team last season in catches, and he showed last week that he's ready to be a dual-threat playmaker after running for 62 yard and a score and catching three passes for 67 yards and a touchdown.

- BYU will take the good with the bad with QB Taysom Hill, and while he'll make plays with his legs, and he'll be magical at times, he can't go 13-of-40 again. However, he's a big play performer who could rebound quickly. He needs to.

- Welcome back, Jackson Jeffcoat. The Texas star defensive end showed no ill-effects from the torn pectoral muscle that knocked him out last season, leading the team with seven tackles with a tackle for loss. As long as he's active, the run defense will be far better. The run defense has also improved with the return of linebacker Jordan Hicks from a hip injury, making six stops.

What Will Happen: BYU's defense will keep Texas in check for about a half, but the offense won't be able to take advantage of its opportunities. It'll be a grind at times, but the too-deep Longhorns will finally pull away late in the second half.
Prediction: Texas 27 … BYU 17
Line: Texas -7 o/u: 57.5
Must See Rating: (5 Olbermann – 1 Total Divas) … 3