Homecoming this week will have a new look for BYU this Saturday. The cougars will be donning their one-time-only black uniforms that have many cougar fans excited. At the same time there are those a little skeptical of the new uni's, but regardless they have people talking. Which means BYU marketing did their job. Lavell Edwards Stadium should have a fun fan atmosphere, one that should give the players a little something more to play for.
So how will BYU fare against the first Top-10 team to stroll into LES since 2009 when TCU came in and dominated the cougars on their home field 38-7?
Little Bro says:
I am going to go out on a limb and say this is the hardest game to predict and analyze so far this year. A top 10 team, coming into Provo without its starting quarterback. Personally, I have been back and forth thinking that the Beavers are for real. Yeah they beat #19 UCLA in Pasadena. Its true they beat then #13 Wisconsin. But by the same token, they struggled to beat a Washington State team that BYU handled in Provo, and that was in Corvallis.
All that being said, Oregon State has proven to be much improved from last year when BYU beat the Beavers in Corvallis 38-28. They are more balanced and little more experienced. They do struggle to score for how many yards they rack up through the games however, averaging only 23.5 ppg. With a backup quarterback running the show, I dont see them scoring more than 17 points (they have a kicker that can actually make a field goal). That 17 is being generous considering the BYU defense hasn't given up an offensive touchdown in over 3 games.
On the BYU side of things there are just as many question marks. Riley Nelson is coming back after a couple weeks of rehab, and is said to be near 100%. I don't buy it. Its only a matter of time that he gets hit and is knocked out of the game, possibly the season again. I hope not for his sake. He is truly the heart and soul of this team, but he doesn't have it in his playing style to run out of bounds. I think one should prep to see lots of James Lark in the second half due to injury, not the plethora of points.
The BYU defense will have its stiffest test of a balanced team. The back-up quarterback for Oregon State will have trial by fire against a top-tier defense. Thats not easy. I think BYU will get a turnover or two but the offense is still going to struggle to put up points. I dont know how its going to happen, but sometimes you just can't see BYU coming out on top. I think this is the first game I am going to call a BYU loss.
BYU 14 - Oregon State 17
Big Bro says:
I'm putting on the blue goggles and calling this Riley Nelson's coming out party. If ever this team needed heroics from Bronco's man crush, it was now. And I think he will exceed expectations (which are admittedly low).
I expect OC Brandon Doman to be a bit more aggressive on the play calling, after seeing what Hoffman can do when given the chance to make big catches last week. I expect Jamaal Williams to be consistent enough to allow Nelson to not have to run 15 QB draws.
Most importantly, I expect this defense to play like beasts. This is their toughest test yet, and I think they are hungry to show the world that they can stop a top-10 team the way they have shut down all their opponents this year. Four games without allowing an offensive touchdown seems too tall an order to me, but I wouldn't be surprised if this defense plays like it has something to prove.
All in all, I don't think the offense will light it up, but I expect at least two touchdowns. However, my ending score is kind of strange because of my utter lack of faith in the kicking game.
BYU 20 (three TDs with one 2-pt conversion) - Oregon State 12 (four field goals)
P.S., I am a bit of a black-out skeptic. The unis have an unsavory Oregon Ducks flavor to them that rubs me the wrong way. Then again, I'm not even a huge fan of the navy blue; I'd rather see the old school royal blue. So, take my opinion with a grain of salt.