BYU vs. Utah State: Get To Know The Cougars
Find out who the Cougars are.
Can Utah State beat BYU?
Utah State takes on BYU this week in Provo for a huge game and to get to know the Cougars we brought on Mitch Harper who covers BYU for 247Sports.
1. How good is this BYU team? They looked good in upsetting a top-10 team on the road in Wisconsin, they lost at home to Cal and then did not have a great showing against Washington?
1. BYU is a top 50-60 team in college football this season. Washington was a horrible matchup for the Cougars because of the speed on the edges that the Huskies possess. But this is a solid football team that plays great when they don’t make mistakes, because if they make mistakes, BYU doesn’t have an explosive offense at all to be able to make a comeback win happen.
2. How has the offense changed from last year with BYU having a new offensive staff?
2. Simplified. Thinner playbook but each play has various options within a play. Jeff Grimes has done a really good job for BYU as well as Passing Game Coordinator Aaron Roderick. Last year’s offense had a terrible scheme but not much talent either. This staff has taken pretty much the same personnel and gotten them to buy into the new schemes and system, and it’s worked for the most part. BYU fans just struggle to enjoy it because there is truly nothing flashy about it. But that’s okay as BYU tries to get more talent into the program in future seasons.
3. Utah State is averaging 51.5 points per game. Who are the key players and plan for BYU to slowing down the Aggies offense?
3. OLB Sione Takitaki, OLB Zayne Anderson, and Safety Dayan Ghanwoloku. Two of these three have been battling injuries in Anderson and Ghanwoloku but both are expected to play tonight. Zayne Anderson might be the most important piece to BYU’s defense as he allows Sione Takitaki to be the pass rusher that he is meant to be so he doesn’t have to worry about dropping back in coverage like Zayne does. Ghanwoloku is a big-time playmaker as he has recovered two fumbles this season. Look for BYU to bring pressure in their front seven with Anderson and Ghanwoloku back in the lineup to try and prevent Utah State from having another huge offensive performance.
4. What is the most important key for BYU in winning this game?
4. The most important key for BYU is to end every drive in a kick. Whether it’s a punt, field goal, extra point, etc. The Cougars must end their drives in kicks because that means they aren’t turning over the football to the Aggies. If BYU coughs up the football and sets up the Ags with short fields, they will be in trouble and the Ags could get their first back-to-back wins over the Cougars since the 70’s.
5. Do BYU fans consider this a rivalry game?
5. Pride is holding them back from considering this a rivalry. It is though. It’s an annual game and there’s history to this game. Just because most of that history is in the 60’s and 70’s doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Utah State’s program is tough and they have the under-the-radar developmental athletes that Kalani Sitake would love to get into his program on a consistent basis. But due to lack of increased enrollment and the honor code, BYU doesn’t get those guys. This game has a big impact on the recruiting trail from a perception standpoint. So BYU fans better start viewing this matchup like a rivalry.
6. How do you see this game playing out?
6. Matt Wells always plays conservative in these games. I expect this to be a close football game within the last five minutes of the football game. I think BYU wins the turnover margin and squeaks out a close win over the Aggies to move to 4-2 on the season and two wins away from bowl eligibility.