BYU will be attempting to have a four game losing streak for the first time since the Gary Crowton era, and Utah State is just the opponent to do that against. The Cougars should be the better team and win this game, but Utah State is improved and should provide some resistance against BYU.
Utah State head coach Gary Andersen is a defensive mastermind and will bring many looks and schemes to confuse Jake Heaps. The Aggies do not have the athletes that Florida State has, but scheme wise Andersen might be able to come close in the execution.While Gary Andersen will be scheming up against BYU, the Cougars should have their best offensive game of the season, and see what Jake Heaps and the other inexperienced play makers can do. One oddity on the sideline for Utah State is that head coach Gary Andersen will be wearing a neck brace after he blacked out:
In an incident he called "stress-related," the second-year USU coach blacked out, hit the floor and lost consciousness at his Logan home on Monday. Andersen was taken to the emergency room, treated and released. He was fitted with a neck brace, which he must wear for the next five weeks, but the coach will be back on the sidelines when Utah State hosts BYU at 6 p.m. today at Romney Stadium.
Andersen called the tumble, brought on by what he called a lack of sleep during the previous two weeks, a wake-up call.
The Aggies started the season with a moral victory by losing to Oklahoma by only seven points, but since then Utah State has a win over Idaho State; plus they were beaten easily against Fresno State and San Diego State. The Aggies have an athletic quarterback in Diondre Borel who could cause trouble against BYU. Washington's Jake Locker, Air forces Tim Jefferson, and Nevada's Colin Capernick played quite well against the Cougar defense. Expect Borel to have some success against BYU by being able to bide some extra time to make some plays.
The key for BYU in this game is to stop Borel -- who has shown some signs of brilliance this year -- and limit his rushing yards. Even though Gary Andersen is a very good defense coach I think that BYU should have some success on offense with Jake Heaps getting another full week in practice to prepare for this game. There will still be freshman mistakes, but Heaps and the rest of the offense will need to limit those mistakes. The running game will be a key for BYU with J.J. DiLuigi who needs to hold onto the ball and make big plays like he did against Air Force.
Anyway one looks at this game it is a must win for BYU, because being 1-4 with Utah, TCU, and an improved San Diego State still on the schedule a loss tonight could mean that BYU might not be heading to a bowl game. This would be the first time since 2004.