BYU Football: Cougs can't let Georgia Tech "chew away" game
College Football • Yellow Jackets held ball more than 43 minutes last week vs. Boston College
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo • Time of possession is generally an overrated statistic in college football, and rarely correlates to a team's overall success. Take Georgia Tech, for instance.

The Yellow Jackets are just 3-4, but they are No. 10 nationally in time of possession, controlling the football an average of 32 minutes, 54 seconds per game.

But that's a stat that has BYU's offensive players concerned this week as they prepare for Saturday's 1 p.m. MT game against the Ramblin' Wreck at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

"We need to go in there and try and mount drives, and hold on to the ball, and not let their offense chew away the game," BYU quarterback Riley Nelson said Wednesday. "Hopefully, that will give us a chance to win the game."

The Jackets had the ball for 43:54 in last week's 37-17 win over Boston College, the most since Tech began tracking time of possession in 1975.

Nelson said it will be paramount for the Cougars to sustain drives offensively, if for no other reason than to give their defense a rest.

"Our goal that we like to meet every game is [to score] 24 points," Nelson said. "So we are just trying for that. Anything else will be extra ... We are not going to try to do too much, not worry about statistics because every game is different. But we have to move the football, no doubt about it."

Georgia Tech is averaging 339.57 yards per game on the ground, third-most in the country, but BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said he's not going into the game with a specific goal in mind as to how many yards his defense can allow. The Cougars have allowed just 93.1 rushing yards per game, eighth-best in the country, but haven't faced anything close to the running game that Georgia Tech possesses.

"I am only concerned about points. The rushing yards or passing yards don't matter to me," Mendenhall said. "The points is what matters."

Kicking woes

BYU is far from the only program with kicking problems this season. Saturday's opponent, Georgia Tech, has had its share of missed kicks as well, and on Tuesday coach Paul Johnson said there is "open competition" between David Scully and Justin Moore to get the job against the Cougars. Scully missed 28-yard attempt against Boston College and had a 22-yard attempt blocked.

Hill's surgery goes well

Offensive coordinator Brandon Doman said freshman quarterback Taysom Hill's knee surgery was performed on Oct. 16 and went well.

The damage was not as significant as was originally feared, "so we are pretty happy with the outcome," Doman said. "We were worried about other things that might have been damaged, and weren't. So, I think the recovery will happen much faster and the stability will be much stronger than we originally thought it would be."

Briefly

BYU strength and conditioning coach Jay Omer spent eight years at Georgia Tech as the director of player development. ... Georgia Tech quarterback Tevin Washington has rushed for more touchdowns — 15 — than BYU's entire team (13). Freshman running back Jamaal Williams leads the Cougars with five TD runs.

drew@sltrib.com

Twitter: @drewjay