In-state Game Previews: Utes, Cougars, and Aggies

Posted: October 8, 2010 by Dan Condie in Air Force, BYU, Iowa State, Louisiana Tech, NCAA Football, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Utah, Utah State
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With the Utes coming off their bye week, and the Aggies and Cougars coming off their showdown in Logan last Friday night, all three teams will be in action this Saturday.

The #10 Utes head to Ames, IA to face the Iowa State Cyclones. Many agree that this will be the first real challenge this season for the Utes.

Personally, I think the Pittsburgh game will end up being more challenging just due to the mistakes and uncertainties that come with the opening game. Utah clearly outplayed Pitt, but could easily have lost that game due to turnovers and penalties.

The Cyclones beat up on Texas Tech last Saturday, winning 52-38. The story on offense was the Iowa State rushing attack. They had 2 players rush over the century mark in Alexander Robinson and Shontrelle Johnson. QB Austin Arnaud threw 20-28 for 190 yards, 4 TD 0 INT.

The thing that stands out most to me is that Texas Tech was able to put up 38 points on Iowa State’s defense (377 yards and 5 TDs through the air). Plus, Texas Tech’s defense isn’t anywhere close to where the Utes are. The Utes have shut down Dion Lewis and will do the same to the Cyclones’ backfield.

Utah should win comfortably 45-16.

The Aggies are coming off a long-awaited victory over a disheveled BYU team. The Cougars went up to Logan last Friday night (Oct. 1st) and it was not pretty for the Y.

As a person who has attentively watched all BYU games that don’t interfere with the Utes games, I have to say that BYU has been able, over the last few years, to line up against most anyone and play a solid 60 minutes. Games against Oklahoma, Utah, and Oregon State have proved that.

The team that BYU fielded up in Logan was easily the worst BYU football team in 30 years. Not only did Utah State win 31-16, they allowed BYU to only score one TD that was hard earned, dropped about 3 more INTs than they ended up with, and thoroughly and completely embarrassed the Cougars.

This week, Utah State will take on Louisiana Tech on the road. LA Tech is just not good. No two ways about it. Utah State poses a serious rushing threat with QB Diondre Borel. With the momentum carrying over from last week’s victory, Utah State should win this game 31-10.

BYU is…well, I would say struggling, but that would imply that there is effort being displayed. BYU has ceased struggling and moved on to something less.

BYU had absolutely 0 excuses for losing to Utah State last week. Matched up side by side with the Aggies, BYU had more talent, strength, and size on both sides of the ball. They have future Heisman candidate QB Jake Heaps for Pete’s sake! So what happened?

BYU was out-coached. Offensively, they were predictable and sloppy. Defensively, they were slow to the ball, horrible against the run, and again, were sloppy.

The Cougars lost the turnover battle 2-1, lost the time of possession battle 26: 35 to 33: 25. The Cougars just could not get any offensive production going. Heaps attempted an outrageous 55 passes, completing only 27, averaging a mere 4.9 yards a completion. The rushing game was even worse only getting 2.6 yards per carry.

This performance resulted in defensive coordinator Jaime Hill being released from that calling and Bronco Mendenhall filling those responsibilities till further notice.

The Cougars have no doubt been run ragged in practice this week as they prepare for the San Diego State Aztecs to come into Provo.

Like Air Force and Utah State, SDSU is a team BYU has abused over the last few years and will be very much excited to get their shot in on the Cougars before they go Independent next season.

What must BYU do this week to avoid losing their 5th straight to start the season 1-5? Simple. Stop the run. Ryan Lindley is a great QB that can win with his arm (San Diego State currently has the MWC’s best pass attack), but with BYU literally ranked dead last in rush defense, every team will play BYU rush first, then pass.

If BYU can’t stop the rush Saturday, I think San Diego State will coast to a 42-17 victory.

3 games that carry a lot of weight for each respective team. One hopes to stay unbeaten, another hopes to pull even at 3-3, and another hopes to finally get up off the floor and get back on track.

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