At long last, Rivalry week is upon us again! The air is thick with trash talk, and the social media is on fire with taunts.
Regardless, Wynn did not look sharp against the Aggies last Friday. His replacement looked far more composed and accurate, leading the Utah comeback that eventually fell short. BYU has been notoriously bad when a back up comes in, so this actually plays to BYUs favor, because now they can prepare for someone not made of glass, aka Jordan Wynn. BYU knows who they are going to face and can prepare accordingly. I do, however, expect to see Utah play both quarterbacks against BYU to see who they want to be their guy moving forward for the rest of the season. Both got playing time last Friday, so the cougars have film on them both.
In order for BYU to pull of a big win to propel them into the heart of their schedule, they must MUST run the ball effectively. The cougars had a decent ground game against Weber State, however that was expected. They ran for 225 yards, with Alisa getting the bulk of the carries. However, Alisa is yet to carry the ball more than 15 times in a game. This doesn't allow Alisa to gather momentum and a rhythm. I think this has to happen against a Utah defense that looked over matched against Utah State.
Needless to say, that Ute defense is not one to take for granted. The Utes have some play makers that Utah State was able to keep contained for the most part, but can make a big play at any moment. Look for the ground game to be established, complimented nicely by the cougar passing attack led by Riley Nelson and Cody Hoffman.
This cougar defense is good. Greg Wrubell recently tweeted that through the first two games, BYU has held their opponents to an average of 3rd and 8.5 yards to go! That is impressive. If BYU can continue to do that against the team up north, I can see this being a good day for BYU. Utah doesn't seem to have an offensive identity yet, and that is something Kyle Van Noy and the cougar D can prey upon.
If Bronco's cougars can establish a running game with a lead back (Michael Alisa w/ 15+ carries 85+ yard) and have good 3rd down defense, I see BYU coming away with a win in Salt Lake City.
BYU 24 Utah 17