Wyoming renews an old rivalry with BYU. Here’s how to find the livestream and what to watch for.
Can the Cowboys get their first win in Provo since 1987?
WEEK 4:Wyoming Cowboys (3-1, 1-0 MW) vs Brigham Young Cougars (2-1)
WHEN: Saturday, September 24—8:15 PM MDT/7:15 PM PDT
WHERE: LaVell Edwards Stadium; Provo, Utah
TV: ESPN 2
RADIO: The Wyoming broadcast can be found throughout the state on the affiliates of the Cowboy Sports Network, including flagship 1240 AM (KFBC) in Cheyenne.
SERIES HISTORY: Wyoming and BYU have met 78 times previously with the Cougars having a 45-30-3 advantage over the Cowboys.
SP+ PROJECTION: BYU by 22.4
FEI PROJECTION: BYU by 24.1
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: BYU 95.46% win probability (32.68-9.35)
After an upset win over Air Force last Friday, Wyoming travels to Provo for the first time since 2010 to take on old rival BYU. The Cowboys and the Cougars have a long history dating back to 1922, and have played many thrilling games including the 1996 WAC title game. The Cougars lead the all time Series 45-30 with 3 ties, and have won 8 straight games against the Cowboys. The two rivals have only met once since BYU left the Mountain West Conference in the 2016 Poinsettia Bowl when BYU beat the Josh Allen led Cowboys in a rare rainy day in San Diego.
BYU is coming off a frustrating loss to Oregon in Eugene this past week and is looking to right the ship against the Cowboys. BYU is led by Head Coach Kalani Sitake who has a career record of 50-30 as the head coach of the Cougars. Wyoming is coming off an exciting win against Air Force, and is looking to get its first win in Provo since 1987.
Three Keys to a Cowboy Victory
1. Make the BYU Offense one-dimensional.
Traditionally BYU is a very passing heavy team, however since Coach Sitake has taken over, the Cougars have become a much more balanced team on offense. The BYU Rushing attack has struggled the past two weeks averaging only 72 yards per game on the ground the past two weeks, which is considerably less than they had in their week 1 matchup against USF when the Cougars rushed for 312 yards. Christopher Brooks is the Cougars leading rusher with 36 carries for 194 yards. Brooks averages 12 carries per game for 64 yards. Brooks is complimented by Lopini Katoa who averages 31 yards per game, as well as Quarterback Jaren Hall who puts in about 20 yards per game on the ground. The BYU offense tends to go as the rushing attack goes. The Cougars can beat you through the air, but their offense is better when they can play off the run.
The Cowboys largely shut down the nation’s leading rushing attack last week in Air Force. The Falcons came into the game averaging over 500 yards on the ground, and the Cowboy Defense held the Falcons to 171 yards on the ground and were able to keep the Falcons off the field. The Cowboys will need a similar performance on defense this week to keep pace with BYU.
2. Keep the Offense on the field.
Much like in the keys to victory last week the Cowboys will need to continue to extend drives to be successful. Against Air Force, the Cowboys came out of the gate and immediately marched down the field on a 15-play, 75-yard scoring drive that took 7:32 off of the clock. The Cowboys will need to start the game off in a similar fashion and keep the BYU Offense off the field as long as possible. Additionally BYU’s defense has allowed 17 drives longer than a 3 and out, and 12 of them have gone for scores, with 10 of those 12 going for Touchdowns. If the Cowboys can continue to capitalize on extended drives and shorten the game as much as possible, it will be their best weapon against the Cougars.
3. Open up the passing game.
The biggest X-factor in this game is the Cowboys passing game. In the game against Air Force the Cowboys came out of the gate slinging the rock and threw 8 passes during the opening drive. The Cowboys got into a rhythm early, and the threat of the pass opened up the run game as the game went on. The Cowboys have been at their best this season when the passing game has been clicking, and Tim Polasek has shown a willingness to dial up passing plays that put the Cowboys in situations to succeed. After a poor start to the season against Illinois, Andrew Peasley has looked like a completely different Quarterback completing 68.7 percent of his passes for 562 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Cowboy signal caller will need to have a solid game against the Cougars this Saturday and show that he can be just as efficient against a bigger team as he has been the past 3 weeks. His Leadership has been a big factor in the Cowboys bouncing back after losing to Illinois.
This game means a lot to both of these teams, but furthermore it means a lot to the state of Wyoming. Of all the original Mountain West members Wyoming by far has the most animosity towards BYU. If you were to ask Wyoming fans in the early 2000’s who they considered the Cowboy’s biggest rival you would get a 50-50 answer, for the fans on the eastern side of the state the answer would be Colorado State, but for most of the Western half of the state that answer would be BYU. Speaking as someone who has ties to both schools I can say there is no love lost between the two programs.
On Saturday I expect the Cowboys to have a solid game plan put together to stop the BYU rushing attack, but the Cowboys secondary will have a harder time keeping up with the BYU receivers. The Cowboy offense will need to be the defense and keep the Cougars off the field, if they can do that Wyoming will win a thriller.
Wyoming 23, BYU 20