San Diego State Football: Getting to know the BYU Cougars
A non-conference opponent look ahead
The Aztecs are very familiar with the BYU Cougars, are you?
BYU is San Diego State’s final opponent on the printed 2019 schedule. By kickoff on November 30, the Aztecs will know if they are bowl-eligible and if they are contenders for the Mountain West Conference championship game.
2018 BYU Cougars
Bowl Game: Idaho Potato Bowl against Western Michigan.
Notable victories: 6Wisconsin
Notable losses: 11Washington, Utah State, Utah.
BYU has dominated this matchup all-time with a record of 27-6-1. San Diego State hasn’t won since 2005. In total since 2000, San Diego State has come away with 2 victories. This is one of the most lopsided rivalries in Mountain West and WAC history. The scoring differential for these games has run into the double-digits.
This roster only knows losses against BYU.
BYU, at its peak, ranked 20th in the nation after pulling off an upset against 6Wisconsin. But, after the lopsided 35-7 loss against Washington, their top 15 dreams were brief as their loss sent them back into the obscurity.
Zach Wilson QB
Hot take alert, the QB is a key player. Tanner Magnum graduated and now sophomore Wilson is set to take the QB1 spot. However, Wilson underwent shoulder surgery this February and it is uncertain how the depth chart settles by summer camp. Eleven quarterbacks stepped up during spring camp including one of the Romney offspring.
Magnum and Wilson almost split exactly their plays, but Wilson threw for more yards and touchdowns. So it’ll be interesting how Wilson and the rest of the quarterbacks look by November 30.
Kaufusi has stopping power, recording 30 solo tackles, 6 tackles for a loss, and 1 sack. Kaufusi is a true athlete who played wide receiver and defensive back in high school and makes plays at linebacker. He recorded 2 interceptions and 4 passes defended. His passes defended led the 2018 team. Kaufusi has a lot to step into with his senior teammates leaving the program on defense.
RB Lopini Katoa
Despite the Cougars have many 400-yard rushers and 300-yard rushers, Katoa led the team with 9 total touchdowns, 8 on the ground and 1 by air. His most impressive performance was against New Mexico State with 19 touches for 155 yards and 4 touchdowns. There is still much competition at the running back spot, but Katoa’s performance has leadership will make him stand out through to November 30.
BYU has been a gunslinging program where the Cougars can be up by three scores by halftime. Former LSU coordinator Jeff Grimes took over for the outgoing Ty Detmer in 2018. The BYU offense threw for 2,753 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 1,995 and 27 touchdowns.
On paper, the BYU squad can light up the Aztec secondary and put 50 on the board. Led by junior TE Matt Bushman and a depth chart where they continually rotate their players, San Diego State will have a tough time at the end of the season to stop the air attack.
BYU recruits these ridiculously big dudes in their front seven and athletic linebackers. Four-hundred-pound defensive lineman Motekiai Langi and Kaufusi are prime examples of how BYU reloads. Capitalizing on their athleticism, the 2018 team ended with a plus-1 turnover differential. Their defense did their job keeping the offense fresh, while not letting the game slip away except for their blowout loss to Washington.
San Diego State’s offense has a lot to prove especially getting blanked against Ohio in the Frisco Bowl.
Way Too Early Prediction
San Diego State struggles, as they historically do against BYU.
BYU 35, San Diego State 21