Boise State (5-2) at BYU (5-2)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, October 25, 8 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470) -- Provo, Utah.
Television: ESPN. Home Record: BSU 4-0, BYU 3-1. Away Record: BSU 1-2, BYU
2-1. Neutral Record: BSU 0-0, BYU 0-0. Conference Record: BSU 3-1, BYU 0-0.
Series Record: Boise State leads, 3-0.
GAME NOTES: The BYU Cougars try to extend their win streak to five in a row on
Friday night, as they host the Boise State Broncos at LaVell Edwards Stadium
BYU kicked off the 2013 campaign with two defeats in three tries, with a
resounding 40-21 romp over nationally-ranked Texas in between. Most recently,
the Cougars were pitted against Houston on the road last weekend and managed
to steal away a 47-46 victory over those Cougars.
As for the Broncos, members of the Mountain West Conference which is where the
Cougars used to reside before becoming an Independent, they have the same
overall record as BYU at 5-2, but have been fighting to get back into the
national rankings ever since losing the season opener at Washington, 38-6.
Last Saturday, BSU was locked up against a familiar rival in Nevada and
eventually captured a 34-17 home victory, the third straight win and the fifth
in the last six games overall for the Broncos as they moved to 3-1 in
Boise State has never lost to the Cougars, posting a third win in as many
meetings last season, albeit by a score of just 7-6.
The Broncos took their cues from running back Jay Ajayi last Saturday as he
posted a career-high 222 yards and scored three touchdowns on 24 carries in
the team's 17-point victory against Nevada. The Broncos were a little shaky on
defense in the first half as they surrendered 246 yards, but they tightened up
after intermission and allowed only 127 yards to the Wolf Pack.
Starting quarterback Joe Southwick made an early exit with an injury, leaving
Grant Hedrick to fill his shoes and the backup was more than adequate as he
not only converted 18-of-21 passes for 150 yards, he also become the first BSU
quarterback in nearly a decade to run for at least 100 yards, churning out 115
net yards and a couple of touchdowns on just eight carries.
The latest news on Southwick is not good at all, listed as being out
indefinitely with an ankle injury, which means Hedrick will now be the field
leader for the Broncos. The good news, if there is such a thing, is that BSU
head coach Chris Petersen has made it a habit of getting his backups quality
playing time during the season and that should put Hedrick in a solid position
to succeed moving forward.
Hedrick has completed a staggering 81.1 percent of his 37 pass attempts this
season, although his yardage total (264) is not all that impressive. Then
again, Hedrick was primarily used after outcomes had already been decided, so
his passing was not always a major concern.
Nevertheless, Boise State is a team that ranks 18th in the country in total
offense with 494.4 ypg and coach Petersen aims to keep it that way no matter
who is under center.
The Cougars offense spent quite a bit of time on the field at Reliant Stadium
in Texas last weekend, tying an FBS record for offensive snaps with 115, yet
the team won by just a single point in a wild affair versus Houston. BYU
generated a hefty 683 yards of total offense and set school records for first
downs (41) and total plays.
Quarterback Taysom Hill converted 29-of-44 passes for a career-best 417 yards,
leading to four touchdowns. The signal caller also carried the ball 34 times
for another 128 yards, making him the first player to reach 100 rushing yards
versus the Houston defense this season. Cody Hoffman accounted for seven
catches for 156 yards, not only notching his 16th career 100-yard outing, but
also becoming the school's all-time leader in receptions, now with 228.
Hill has managed to average a solid 240.0 ypg when passing the ball, but his
nine touchdowns through the air are only slightly better than his eight
interceptions. Instead, Hill's real asset appears to be as a runner, what with
his team-best 772 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. As a group, BYU is
producing 263.0 ypg rushing and has delivered 15 touchdowns, a huge advantage
over the competition which has a mere three rushing TDs versus the BYU defense
to this point.
Speaking of the BYU defense, there are few players in the country who are as
feared as Kyle Van Noy, a devastating linebacker who has a nose for the ball
like few others. Van Noy is second on the team in total tackles (44), trailing
only Uani Unga (69), but he is easily the leader with 11 TFL and four sacks,
not to mention 11 quarterback hurries and five pass breakups.
With the Broncos having to revamp their offense because of the loss of
Southwick there are bound to be a few hiccups when the team takes the field
this week, and that will certainly work to the advantage of Hill and the rest
of the Cougars.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 33, Boise State 27
10/23 10:33:15 ET