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GAME PREVIEW: BYU at Utah St.

GAME PREVIEW: BYU at Utah St.



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(KSL Sports) A Friday night college football special as the 7th/8th ranked BYU Cougars go on the road to renew their in-state rivalry against the Utah State Aggies. The Cougars are looking to extend their winning streak to 15 games and are also working on an eight game winning streak against the Aggies. The last time Utah State beat BYU was in 1993.

BYU is coming of an auspicious bye week where it saw its national ranking jump several spots. Now the 28-point favorites hope to justify the move with a convincing win in Logan.

KSL takes a look back and a look ahead as we prep for game day.

What did we learn about BYU vs. Wyoming?

BYU started slow against Wyoming, putting up its lowest total offensive numbers of the season with only 40 yards in the first quarter. However, BYU stormed back in the second quarter with its best total offensive quarter, racking up 195 yards (and 20 points).

- Even when they have a spotty day on offense BYU can remain dominate against inferior competition - Defenses continue to focus on TE Dennis Pitta leaving Austin Collie to have big games. (10 catches, 110 yards against UCLA, 8 catches for 122 yards against Wyoming)

What questions do we have about BYU?

- Coming off a bye week, can the Cougars avoid the slow start that plagued them against the Cowboys? - Which wide receiver will emerge in the absence of Michael Reed (expected to return against New Mexico) and Spencer Hafoka? - Can BYU pitch a third straight shutout for the first time in 70 years?

What can BYU expect from Utah State?

- A running quarterback. Diondre Borel ran for almost 100 yards and threw for 161 yards against Idaho (42-17 win). - Generous defense (Utah State is ranked 115th nationally in scoring defense. BYU is ranked 11th nationally in scoring offense) - A near full house at Romney Stadium in Logan

What can we expect from BYU vs. Utah State?

- A lot of rushing. Utah State has one of worst rushing defenses in FBS (113th nationally) and this game could be a blowout early - BYU reserves in by third quarter if everything goes as planned - Austin Collie to perhaps get some looks as kick/punt returner

Miscellaneous:

- Last time these two teams played in 2006 The Cougars shut out the Aggies 38-0 in Provo. - The Cougars have scored 30+ points in the last 19 games against Utah St. - Utah St. allows 42 points a game, while scoring only 23.2 points a game. - BYU is scoring 43 points a game and allowing only 11 points a game. - BYU has won 18 consecutive games when "even" or "plus" in turnover margin. Mendenhall is 23-3 when "even" or "plus" in the margin. - A win over Utah St. would be BYU's 15th consecutive victory since last season's loss at Tulsa, and a 15th straight win would make it the third-longest winning streak in BYU Football history. BYU won 25 in a row from 1983 to 1985, and 17 in a row from 1980 to 1981. - Third down conversion: Utah St. 31% BYU 68% - BYU is the ONLY team in the FBS yet to attempt a single fourth down conversion. - The second quarter has been BYU's best quarter, by far, this season. The Cougars are outscoring the opposition 75-7 in the 15 minutes leading into halftime. - BYU has gone 12 consecutive games with a 100-yard rusher or 100-yard receiver. - BYU has not been ranked this high this early in the season since BYU was ranked 5th in the September 11th, 1990 AP poll, after beating previous #1 Miami. - According to Coach Bronco Mendenhall, linebackers Grant Nelson and Terrance Hooks are both back with the team and that an "aggressive" timeline could have them ready for New Mexico, but that a more "conservative" estimate has them returning against TCU.

Conclusion:

Under Brent Guy the Aggies have lost eight games against ranked teams by an average of 40 pts a game. Utah State is also 0-10 when playing BYU as a ranked team.

Expect an easy victory for the Cougars on the way to 6-0 and the Oct. 16 showdown against TCU (BYU plays New Mexico on Oct 11 in Provo). The Cougars have proven they are good enough to justify their national ranking, but many feel their first real test won't come until the trip to Fort Worth.

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