2019 BYU Cougars Team Preview

Since going independent in 2011, BYU has been remarkably consistent, winning between seven and ten games every year save for a 4-9 blip in 2017.

With almost everyone back from last year’s 7-6 squad, this Cougar team has high potential, but the schedule is murderous with four power five teams and some of the G5’s best programs in Boise State, Toledo, USF, Utah State, and San Diego State.

Offense

BYU made the bold choice to move away from star QB Tanner Magnum midway through last year for unproven freshman Zach Wilson. It turned out to be the right decision as Wilson produced 8.7 yards a throw, a 66% completion rate and a 12-to-3 TD-to-INT ratio.

The top three pass-catchers are back from last year between senior wideouts Aleva Hido and Talon Shumway along with red-zone threat TE Matt Bushman, who led the team in yardage last year.

Top halfback Lopini Katoa returns as well after averaging 5.6 yards per carry and racking up eight touchdowns in a running back by committee group last year. South Carolina grad transfer Ty’Son Williams (799 yards over the past two years) will join the mix along with Rice grad transfer Emmanuel Esukpa. Five starters are back for the line and I am really excited about this offense as it should be the best BYU group in a while.

Defense

The BYU defense is always pretty good and they were again last year, but LB Sione Takitaki and DL Corbin Kaufusi are gone after combining for 11.5 sacks, seven TFL, five PBUs and 174 tackles last year. Corner Michael Shelton is gone too, but the good news is that outside of those three, pretty much everyone is back.

Isaiah Kaufusi and Zayne Anderson are back on the second level, and they have a highly touted sophomore in Chaz Ah You that showed some upside last year, although the MLB spot is a bit of a question mark where pretty much every potential starter is a freshman.

Corbin’s brother Devin Kaufusi could slide into his role on the edge, and the top four outside of Kaufusi are back on the line as well. The secondary played a pretty wide rotation and should be a solid group, led by corner Dayan Ghanwoloku. Despite the losses, this should be a great defense again.

2019 Outlook

Now, it comes to the schedule. It’s rough. BYU won’t be favored in a game until November 9th according to my model, although many games will be quite tight.

This will be a very good team that will probably win fewer games than expected because of the tough schedule, and with four P5 games the first four weeks, it could be a slow start, but I think they get back on track and make a bowl by the end of the year.

Schedule

DateOpponentopp. rankProj. Margin
29-AugUtah28-1.2
7-Sepat Tennessee39-6.0
14-SepUSC23-2.5
21-SepWashington15-5.5
28-Sepat Toledo74-1.0
12-Octat USF75-0.7
19-OctBoise State32-0.6
2-Novat Utah State73-1.0
9-NovLiberty12117.9
16-NovIdaho StateNRn/a
23-Novat Massachusetts12413.2
30-Novat San Diego State66-1.7

Average Projected Record: 6.5 wins, 5.5 losses