With both teams coming off relatively easy wins BYU and USU will face off this Friday night at Romney Stadium in Logan. BYU’s last trip to Romney Stadium was an important night for the Aggies as they recorded their first win in 10 games versus the Cougars with recruit Chuckie Keeton on the sidelines. The past two games have each been decided by 3 points with BYU winning 27-24 in 2011 and 6-3 in 2012. We are probably in for another close game this year with BYU and USU ranking #23 and #22 nationally in total defense, respectively.
BYU had an easy win against Middle Tennessee State last week. Despite the turnovers, the offense was able to put some points on the board and QB Taysom Hill’s passing efficiency markedly improved, 14-19 for 177. Although he hasn’t thrown for a touchdown since the Virginia game, I will take a 73% completion rate by the sophomore QB any day of the week, preferably game day. BYU will also have their two biggest offensive threats in RB Jamaal Williams and WR Cody Hoffman back on the field this week to help carry the offensive load. Pointing to the fact that Hill actually outplayed Keeton in last year’s contest (Hill: 24/36 for 235, 1 TD, 80 yards rushing; Keeton: 22/38 for 202, 0 TD, 23 yards rushing) I think the BYU offense breaks out of their funk this week. USU will likely load the box to stop the run which will give big downfield opportunities to Hoffman and company. Expect to see some big plays in the air for the Cougars.
Prediction: BYU passes for 300 yards for the first time this season.
After routing San Jose State on the road last week the USU offensive once again looks tough. So far this season Chuckie Keeton has thrown for 17 touchdowns (1 int) and ran for another 2. There is no doubt that Keeton is for real as his numbers look even better than last season. There has been only one problem for the Aggies offense since Keeton has been their QB: the BYU defense. Over the past two seasons the Aggie offense has averaged 37 points per game against teams not named BYU. Against BYU that number drops to 13.5 points per game. With Van Noy lining up all over the field he will keep the Aggie offensive line guessing and the BYU defense will control the game.
Prediction: BYU loses the turnover battle but holds USU to under 300 yards of total offense.
This year the game has a different feel to it. For years BYU was expected to win this game and USU played with nothing to lose. This year USU is expected to win which I think will put added pressure on the Aggies and allow BYU to play a little looser.
Prediction: BYU 27, USU 20