No.14 BYU took care of business against Georgia Southern with a 34-17 victory Saturday. The defense pitched a shutout in the second half after BYU took a 20-17 lead into the locker rooms at halftime. The Cougars held Georgia Southern running back Logan Wright to 50 yards on 14 carries. Jaren Hall passed for more yardage than the entire Georgia Southern offense combined to produce. The victory provides BYU its ninth victory, meaning that the final game will be for a chance to earn 10 victories during the regular season. Oh, but there will be so much more than that on the line. Below are three thoughts on the victory.
1. This was Georgia Southern’s bowl game
Georgia Southern fired their head coach earlier this season. They will not be bowl eligible. It’s Senior Day and they played a ranked BYU team. Georgia Southern pulled out all the stops In the first half, the Eagles attempted an onside kick and nearly recovered it. A review overturned the call on the field that Georgia Southern recovered the onside kick. Thus, BYU got Georgia Southern’s absolute best shot. Yet, BYU shut Georgia Southern out in the second half. It may not have been the most exciting opponent for BYU, but head coach Kalani Sitake did an excellent job keeping this team on task and ready to play.
2. It’s nice to have options
Seven different receivers caught at least two passes. Four of those receivers racked up more than 60 yards. BYU quarterback Jaren Hall finished the day 17-of-28 for 312 yards and two touchdown passes. Zero passes were intercepted. This is a solid offense. Let’s not forget, Tyler Allgeier finished the day with 136 rushing yards and one touchdown.
3. And now, for the last act
BYU will have a shot to finish the regular season with 10 victories. It will have a shot to claim seven victories against Power Five schools. BYU will have the opportunity to prove to the nation that it would have won the Pac-12 South had the Cougars been invited. Additionally, there is an excellent chance BYU could win the Pac-12 Conference this season. Had they won the Pac-12, they might have received an invitation to the College Football Playoffs. But, none of this will matter if they lose to USC next week. The Trojans are under the leadership of an interim head coach. They have a losing record. It’s a down year for the Trojans. Not only should BYU defeat the Trojans, but it would be a feather in BYU’s cap to layeth the smackdown on USC. The Pac-12 refused to invite BYU. The Cougars still eventually received an invited to a Power Five Conference. They will be in a much better Power Five Conference. However, that chip should still be there. BYU was rejected, and it’s time to put the final stamp on a 6-0 record against the very conference that rejected BYU. This game isn’t just for the Cougars. It’s for the Big 12 Conference. BYU is representing the Big 12 Conference when they play USC. This is the final nail in the coffin. And, who knows? There just might be a New Year’s Six Bowl berth waiting for them after the victory. Houston will not be in a New Year’s Six Bowl, but the Cougars can certainly spoil Cincinnati’s chances. Everything is on the line for BYU when they enter the Los Angeles Coliseum.