On Saturday Boise State will travel to Provo to take on BYU in what should be an excellent game. The Broncos and Cougars are no strangers to each other, having played each other the last three years. BYU has gone 1-2 in these games. In my opinion it is becoming a rivalry game, with games scheduled every year through 2023.
Last year the Cougs got destroyed, due to a high-powered Broncos offense. With the losses of starting quarterback Grant Hedrick, and fifth-round NFL draft pick running back Jay Ajayi, the story is going to be a lot different this year. Let’s take a look at what we know.
What we know about Boise State (1-0)
The Broncos are ranked 22 in the coaches poll, and beat Washington last week 16-13. The offense will be lead by running back Jeremy McNichols, who had 89 yards rushing with 2 touchdowns. Quarterback Ryan Finley did alright in his debut as a starter. Not great, but alright.
The Boise State defense looked pretty good. They held Washington to under 100 yards of offense until the fourth quarter. They held the UW offense to 29 yards rushing on 22 attempts. That’s a pretty impressive feat, and with how BYU’s running game did against Nebraska, they may give us some problems.
What we know about BYU (1-0)
BYU just came off what could be the game of the year, capping it off with quite possibly the play of the year. The Cougars traveled to Nebraska, beat them, and are now playing at home against a team that looked less than impressive in their opening game. So all signs would be leading to BYU winning right?
Unfortunately, that win came along with the loss of the Cougars’ captain and leader, Taysom “Tom Holmoe’s favorite player TO EVER WEAR COUGAR BLUE” Hill.
We do not know how this will impact the team or how the Cougars will respond. We got a hint from how they fared without him from the Nebraska game, but it’s different now that they know he is out for the whole year. How they will respond to this adversity is yet to be determined.
Keys to the game
The Running Backs. The running backs looked less than stellar for BYU on Saturday. The trio of Algie Brown, Adam Hine, and Nate Carter combined for a whopping 27 yards. 27 YARDS. To beat Boise State, who allowed fewer than 100 yards rushing through three quarters last game, it is essential to get our rushing attack going. We also need it to take some pressure off Tanner Mangum in his first start.
Secondary. While Ryan Finley is a new QB, and looked like a very average one at that, watch out this Saturday. The BYU secondary has a history of making average quarterbacks look great. Other than Micah Hanneman’s acrobatic tip-toe interception, our secondary didn’t look all that great against Nebraska. The Cougars will need to improve that if they’re going to win this game.
Nose Tackle. The loss of Travis Tuiloma is a big loss. It affected the whole defense. Look for replacements Kesni Tausinga and Logan Taele to step up and fill his role. How they play will impact the entire defense.
Three Headed Monster. BYU’s three headed receiving monster in Mitch Matthews, Nick Kurtz, and Terren Houk played amazingly well on Saturday. With a combined 251 yards receiving between the three of them (and a combined 233 inches of height!), expect Mangum to put loads of trust in them and throw the deep ball A LOT. To have those weapons is a quarterback’s dream, so expect them to be put to use.
The Cougars beat the Broncos by 17 the last time they traveled to Provo. Expect a similar result this time around. It will be a good matchup between a good BYU offense and a good BSU defense. BYU will win this game.
Final Score: BYU 27, Boise State 17