Michigan vs. BYU: Bring halt to Hail Marys

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Angelique S. Chengelis of The Detroit News breaks down Saturday's Michigan-BYU game at Michigan Stadium (noon, ABC/WWJ).

Cougars to watch

Adam Hine, RB: The senior, a former Utah state champion in the long and high jumps, leads the team in rushing with 279 yards on 46 carries (6.1 yards per carry). With RBs Algie Brown out and Francis Bernard (broken finger, expected to play), Hine has had the bulk of the run game responsibility. Against UCLA last weekend, BYU rushed for 161 yards, 149 from Hine, who also scored a TD. He's the only running back to score this season.

Tanner Mangum, QB: When starter Tayson Hill suffered his third season-ending injury, a broken foot in the opener against Nebraska, Mangum, a 22-year-old freshman took over. Mangum made two Hail Mary passes for BYU's first two victories. Against UCLA last weekend, he was 30-for-47 for 244 yards, one TD and an INT that ended the final drive in a 24-23 loss.

Harvey Langi, LB: The 6-foot-3, 240-pound junior was a running back before switching to defense last season. Against UCLA last weekend, he led the team with eight tackles, and had two first-half INTs, the firsts of his career. He has 20 tackles and three sacks through three games.


Looking back: OK, so players on both teams don't care about the 1984 game, the only time the teams have met, but here's a history lesson anyway. BYU won 24-17 in the Holiday Bowl to finish 13-0 and win the national championship. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was on that team, but didn't play because of a broken arm.

Big-play threats: If you're name begins with "Mitch" and you're tall and talented, there's a chance you could play receiver at BYU. Mitch Mathews and Mitchell Juergens have been the go-to receivers, combining for all five BYU TDs. Mathews has 185 yards on 17 receptions and three TDs, and Juergens leads the team with 244 yards on 13 receptions and two TDs.

Test for the best: Michigan CB Jourdan Lewis said he believes the secondary can be the best in the country. The Wolverines will get a significant test from the Cougars. Mitch Mathews, Nick Kurtz and Terenn Houk are 6-foot-6, 6-5 and 6-4, respectively. The three have combined for 535 yards on 38 receptions.

Four-quarter game: The Cougars have scored in every quarter, but they seem to get stronger as the game rolls on — and certainly Hail Marys to end the first two games have added to the point total. They have scored 36 in the fourth quarter and their average of 12.0 points in that quarter ranks them 19th nationally.

Defense highlights: UCLA was able to run against BYU, but the Cougars posted some impressive defensive statistics. They held the Bruins to 1-of-9 on third-down conversations. Perhaps more impressive are their INTs — they have seven, tied for the national lead, and have had consecutive games with three INTs.

Facts and figures

*Since 1922, BYU is 160-50 when it is ranked. The Cougars are No. 22, and it's the first time since Weeks 3 and 4 of last season they have been ranked in back-to-back weeks.

*BYU is an independent, so its schedule has an interesting geographical bent. The Cougars are playing teams from 10 states and six conferences.

*BYU doesn't have a lengthy history of playing Big Ten teams, but with the victory over Nebraska in the opener, it is 4-7-1 against conference teams.

*This is the fifth time BYU has played in Michigan, but first time since the 1999 Motor City Bowl when it lost to Marshall. BYU played Western Michigan five times during the regular season and is 3-2.

*Michigan is 10-for-10 on red-zone opportunities. The Wolverines have scored eight TDs and two FGs.