Saturday, November 16th at 2:00 PM (Mountain) on ESPNU
These teams go back to an initial matchup in 1903. Having met 69 times, Wyoming is 26-39 with 4 ties against Utah State. Utah State got most of that win differential back before WWII. Wyoming was 2-20 against Utah State before 1938. Since that time, Wyoming is 24-19. This is a trophy game as the teams battle for the Bridger Rifle. Not a ton of history to the trophy though as it was instituted in 2013. Wyoming is 2-4 when playing for the rifle. The teams last met last year in Laramie. The Aggies won that game, 24 to 16.
Utah State has struggled a bit defending the run, ranking 89th in the country. Wyoming ranks 15th in the country in rushing offense. Wyoming ranks 126th in passing offense. Utah State ranks 103rd in passing defense. Tyler Vander Waal might be able to make some plays in the passing game versus the Aggies defense. However, the main focus for the Wyoming offense is to run the ball, and the Cowboys match up pretty well against the Aggies defense.
Wyoming ranks 10th in the country in rushing defense. Utah State ranks 82nd in the country in rushing offense. Utah State ranks 29th in passing offense. Wyoming ranks 121st in passing defense. The Aggies will need to (and should) find success through the air against Wyoming.
Turnover margin can often play a big part in deciding the outcome of a game. Wyoming ranks 7th in the country at +10 on the season while Utah State ranks 87th in the country at -3 on the season.
The spread has the Aggies as the home favorite. That seems reasonable. Utah State should be able to throw on Wyoming. The Cowboys should be able to run on the Aggies. An interesting matchup to see what wins out. The Cowboys winning the turnover battle seems more likely, so I’ve got that as my tie-breaker this week. I’ll go with Wyoming to win a close one on the road.
Wyoming 27, Utah State 24