This is another big week for Utah State, who leads the race to win the mountain division. There are two games left and the Aggies are still a game ahead of Boise State. If Utah State wins out, they go to the Mountain West title game. However, if the Aggies lose and Boise State and Air Force win out, there will be a three way tie for first place. If that happens, Boise State might have the edge in computer rankings.
Wyoming vs Utah State
Location: Logan, Utah
Line: Utah State (-5.5)
Date/Time: Saturday, November 20th 8:00 P.M. EST
Television: CBS Sports Network
Head-to-Head: Utah State leads the series 40-26-4 and won the last game in Logan 26-21. The Aggies also won the 2018 matchup in Laramie 24-16. The Aggies lost two games to the Cowboys from 2017 to 2016, 28-23 and 52-28. 2016 was the first time that the Aggies lost to the Cowboys in Mountain West play as Utah State beat Wyoming from 2013-2015. The longest win streak in the series is held by Wyoming, who won 8 games against Utah state from 1949-1956.
Three keys to victory
1. Limit the turnovers
This one is pretty simple. The less turnovers the greater the chance to win. Utah State started the game last week with a very significant turnover that helped to give the Spartans the lead. The turnover came off a Logan Bonner interception, who has struggled to take care of the football. If Utah State can limit the turnovers and not create big plays for Wyoming, they will be in good shape.
2. Get off to a fast start
This has been a key to the several of the past Utah State games. The Aggies beat Colorado State and UNLV due to fast starts. The key is no different here. Against Wyoming, who has a very physical run defense, Utah State cannot afford to get off to a slow start because it’s going to be hard to get back ahead. Wyoming’s offense also isn’t the most flashy so if Utah State can score early and stop Wyoming, Utah State will be in better position to win this important game.
3. Stop the run
This was a big reason as to why Boise State was able to stop Wyoming, the Broncos were able to stop the run. Xazavian Valladay has rushed for 797 yards this season and five touchdowns. Titus Swen has rushed for 549 yards and four touchdowns. Utah State also has two capable quarterbacks in new starter Levi Williams and Sean Chambers, who can both throw and run with the football. The defense needs to be prepared for a consistent attack of rushing and passing. However, if Utah State can take the running game away from a team that averages 186 yards per game on the ground, then the Aggies can make the Cowboys one dimensional.
This is a significantly important game for Utah State. The next game is against New Mexico and it seems unlikely that the Lobos are going to beat the Aggies this year. Utah State controls their destiny and simply needs to win out with one loss in conference play but the Aggies must be careful against a physical Wyoming team who is going to be looking to become bowl eligible.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Utah State struggle a little bit early against a stout Wyoming defense, however as the game moves forward, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Utah State start to pull away and move one step closer to the championship game.
Score Prediction: Utah State: 27; Wyoming: 17