The BYU Cougars (8-3) get another matchup against an in-state school as they face the Utah State Aggies (6-5, 5-3) in non-conference action Saturday afternoon. BYU has taken eight of the last 10 meetings but it was Utah State picking up a 35-20 win as a 21 point underdog on the road on October 3, 2014 in the most recent matchup.
BYU has won six of seven after demolishing Fresno State 52-10 on the road last Saturday. Utah State had lost three of four before recording a 31-27 win at home over Nevada last Saturday. The kickoff from Romney Stadium in Logan, Utah is scheduled at 3:30 pm ET and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network. BYU is currently a 3 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 54 points.
BYU had little trouble shrugging off their loss to Missouri at Arrowhead Stadium as they blasted Fresno State. The Cougars were tied at 3 after one quarter but outscored the Bulldogs 49-7 over the final three quarters to blow the doors off. BYU outgained Fresno State 520-275, racked up 22 first downs while allowing 17 and forced three turnovers while committing two in the game. Those numbers helped BYU overcome the fact that they were beaten in the time of possession battle by a 32:02 to 27:58 margin. The Cougars scored on a pick six in the contest as well.
The Cougars are a solid passing oriented offense as they are 21st in the nation in passing (295.9 yards) as opposed to 103rd in the nation in rushing offense with 138.5 yards per contest. BYU scores 33.6 points per game and they are currently 29th in the nation in scoring defense by allowing 21.3 points a contest. Tanner Mangum has been solid as a freshman; he’s completed 226 of 360 passes for 2,778 yards with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He replaced Taysom Hill (21 of 34, 268 yards, TD, INT, nine carries, 72 yards, 2 TD), who was lost for the season with a Lisfranc fracture. Should Mangum go down, Beau Hoge (10 of 17, 137 yards, TD, INT) or possibly Koy Detmer Jr. (3 of 3, 57 yards) would be in line for some game action. Algernon Brown is the team’s leading rusher with 106 carries for 629 yards and 10 touchdowns; Adam Hine (63 carries, 328 yards, 2 TD) and Frances Bernard (42 carries, 259 yards, 5 TD) are capable secondary backs but the Cougars would have loved to have Jamal Williams, who is missing the year due to personal issues, as their starter. Mitch Matthews (46 receptions, 571 yards, 9 TD) is the team’s leading receiver; Devon Blackmon (42 catches, 537 yards), Mitchell Juergens (31 grabs, 413 yards, 2 TD), Nick Kurtz (34 receptions, 509 yards, 2 TD) and Terenn Houk (31 catches, 422 yards, 2 TD) are all excellent targets in the passing game as well. Trevor Samson has hit 42 of 44 extra points and 13 of 15 field goal attempts with a long of 45 yards.
Utah State was down 21-7 at the half against Nevada but outscored the Wolf Pack 24-6 in the second half, 10-0 in the fourth quarter, to escape with the victory. The Aggies outgained the Wolf Pack 313-264 and had 19 first downs while allowing 15 in the game. Utah State was edged in the time of possession battle 30:39 to 29:21 in the contest and turned the ball over three times while forcing a pair of Nevada turnovers. The Aggies scored on a kickoff return and a fumble return; they scored the game’s final 24 points after trailing 27-7 in the third quarter.
The Aggies are a middle of the pack offensive unit as they are currently 93rd in the nation in passing offense with 199.3 yards per contest while they stand 75th in the nation in rushing offense by picking up 164.8 yards per contest. Utah State is tied for 61st in scoring offense as the team averages 29.8 points per game and they are 52nd in the nation in scoring defense as they allow 24.8 points per contest. With Chuckie Keeton (70 of 129, 649 yards, 2 TD, 6 INT, 128 rushing yards) banged up after missing a bunch of time again, it’s Kent Myers (107 of 179, 1470 yards, 14 TD, 3 INT, 348 rushing yards, 3 TD) running the offense. The run game averages 4.4 yards per carry with Devante Mays leading the team with 134 carries for 788 yards and nine scores while LaJuan Hunt contributes 94 carries for 281 yards and four scores. Hunter Sharp leads the team with 53 catches for 646 yards and seven touchdowns; Devonte Robinson contributes 20 grabs for 326 yards plus a pair of scores while Hunt has grabbed 22 balls for 237 yards and a score out of the backfield. Two kickers for the Aggies have combined to hit 39 of 42 extra points and 11 of 14 field goals with a long of 51 yards.
BYU is 5-2 ATS in their last seven after picking up at least 450 yards of offense. Utah State is 1-4 ATS in their last five overall and 0-4 ATS in their last four in November.
The Cougars bounced back nicely from their loss to Missouri and have been playing excellent ball of late. Utah State rallied for a big win over Nevada to ensure they are bowl eligible but it was anything but pretty. Keeton is back and trying to reestablish himself as the starter at quarterback for what seems to be the 85th time for Utah State but the fact remains that Myers had done a good job. Upsetting the apple cart won’t help the Aggies; give the points and take BYU.