04 October 2013

BYU at Utah State


It's the annual Friday night game between the Aggies and BYU! This used to be a throwaway every year, a chance for BYU to rest its injured starting quarterback (2006) or get the backups some good time in a blowout (2008). But recently the competition has been tougher, and BYU even dropped the 2010 matchup 31-16. 

More recent history has BYU winning two close games by a combined 6 points. And last year showed a ridiculous defensive slugfest where the Cougar defense held the Aggies to 3 points and still almost lost the game. 

And last year is the game that has the most importance when determining what will happen tonight. Chuckie Keaton, dual threat extraordinaire, threw for 27 touchdowns and rushed for 619 yards last season. BYU held him to zero touchdowns and 37 yards rushing. I attended this game, and was amazed at how well the Cougar defense, led by Van Noy and Ziggy, managed to beat him to the edge time and time again. He never broke off a long run. Never got that long pass play. He was bottled up as effectively as I've ever seen. The defense won the game that night, and I hope to see it again this time around.

While it's true Ziggy is doing his thing in the NFL now, I like what I've seen from linebackers Alani Fua and Uani' Unga. BYU's side-to-side pursuit is as good as it's been, and while I know Chuckie has gotten stronger and faster, I still don't see him going off. Utah State will score no more than 17 points.

On the offensive side of the ball for BYU, I still don't expect great things from Taysom. He only threw 17 times against MTSU, and while one or two of them were nice throws, the rest were easy pitch and catch plays where he had plenty of time and was not dealing with real pressure. Utah State will bring it, and he'll be far less comfortable in the pocket. I think we'll see another sub-50% passing performance from Hill tonight. Depending on how well the Aggie rush defense performs, and I expect them to be stout, we might see BYU score around 17 as well.

Considering Vegas has Utah State as a 6 point favorite, it makes sense. One or two turnovers will be the decider, and in the end, I see the Aggies getting their second win in 4 years, 21-17. 

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