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Utah State @ BYU: A Familiar Face in A Familiar Place

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BYU looks to regain possession of the Old Wagon Wheel as they host the Aggies on Friday Night

Location: Provo, UT (LaVell Edwards Stadium)

Date/Time: Friday, October 5th at 7:00 p.m. (MDT)

Television: ESPN2

Streaming: N/A

Radio: Aggie Sports Network (92.3 FM local)

Head-to-Head: BYU leads the series 58-35-3 all time, but Utah State won last year’s matchup in Logan 40-24 to reclaim the Old Wagon Wheel

What to look for:

Which defense will buckle first?

- Both Utah State and BYU are giving up big yardage on a per game basis, in fact they’re virtually the same. USU is allowing 357.5 yards per game (YPG), whilst BYU is giving up 355.4 YPG. The Aggies are putting up an average of 475 YPG on offense, with 60% of that production coming from QB Jordan Love and the passing attack, that should be an advantage against a Cougar defense that’s giving up a lot of yardage.

Does the right BYU show up to play?

- BYU was outdone in just about every single statistical category against Wisconsin, yet came out with a win. This kind of performance is something I’d chalk up to just “wanting it more,” as cliché as that phrase is. However, the Cougars were dominated in virtually all aspects by Washington and proceeded to lose in dominating fashion. This game may truly come down to the “want” factor. How bad does BYU want to beat their in-state rival? In turn, how bad do the Aggies want it?

Utah State’s Defense against better opponents

- Through four games, USU has allowed 22 points per game. That’s fairly good, but deceiving. When facing off against Michigan State and Air Force, who we can all agree are better than New Mexico State and Tennessee Tech by a country mile, the average allowed points per game is 31.5; not great. BYU has put up 21.4 points per game so far, so if USU can stick to their season average they have a great chance to win. The loss of BYU TE Moroni Laulu-Pututau for the season to an ACL is unfortunate, as he was second on the team in both catches (14) and receiving yards (120). If, however, the defense allows BYU to move the ball like the other talented teams they’ve faced, the Aggies will be in trouble.

WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY:

- Here’s some words from Vanquish The Foe’s Robby McCombs, who covers BYU, about the game:

- “Utah State has an explosive offense and will have BYU’s undivided attention. With USU coming off a bye week and BYU on a short week, the Cougars will need to be dialed in. After missing the previous two games, safety Dayan Ghanwoloku and linebacker Zayne Anderson are practicing again and would be a big boost to the defense. USU will get their points and move the ball, but BYU must improve the pass rush and hold the Aggies in the redzone. I see this as a coin flip game. Ultimately, I think BYU wins the battle in the trenches and avenges last season’s loss. Prediction: BYU 27, Utah State 24.”

PREDICTION:

- The Utah State passing game is legitimate, no matter who the opponent is. Aaren Vaughns, Dax Raymond, and Ron’Quavion Tarver have all been solid. BYU is still a talented team and this is still a historic rivalry game, so throw out all the records and get ready for a fun one. Whichever defense can tighten up and come up with some big plays late will tilt the scale for their team. The Aggies have that ever-so dangerous ability to take the ball away, so I’ll give them a bit of an advantage here.

Final Score: Utah State 38, BYU 34

What’re your thoughts on the game? Let us know in the comments.

Follow Alex Eiden (UnderDogsAlways) on Twitter @alexyatta_ and follow the MountainWestConnection @MWCConnection