After turning heads against Washington State last week, BYU looks to continue the momentum against Weber State on Saturday.
The Cougars dominated on both sides of the ball against Washington State, ultimately coming away with a 30-6 season-opening victory. They are now on the bubble of the AP Top 25.
Weber State is going to need a much better performance than the one it gave against Fresno State last week. The 37-10 loss exposed the Wildcats' issues on defense, which extend to last season.
Here's a look at Saturday's head-to-head matchup.
Where: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, Utah
When: Saturday, Sept. 8 at 3 p.m. ET
Listen: 1280 AM
Live Stream: BYUtv
Betting Line: TBA
What's At Stake?
After becoming an independent last season, BYU went 10-3, beating Armed Forces in the Armed Forces Bowl, 24-21.
After starting 1-2, the Cougars went on to win nine of their next 10 games with the only speed bump coming against TCU in late October. They finished first in the Independents standings, two games ahead of Notre Dame.
The 30-6 season-opening win against Mike Leach's Washington State was a promising beginning for the squad, with quarterback Riley Nelson and tight end Kaneakua Friel starring.
Weber State finished 5-6 last season (5-3 Big Sky Conference) and didn't exactly show much improvement against Fresno State last week, getting hammered, 37-10.
The Wildcats' secondary got dismantled by Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr, the younger brother of David Carr. The Wildcats also gave up 123 rushing yards and two touchdowns to running back Robbie Rouse.
Injury Report (via Covers.com)
DB Trevor Pletcher - Ankle - Questionable
DL Ian Dulan - Back - Questionable
LB Zac Stout - Achilles - Questionable
LB Kevan Bills - Knee - OUT for season
K Justin Sorensen - Back - OUT indefinitely
What They're Saying
Weber State quarterback Mike Hoke said of Fresno State and BYU before losing to the Bulldogs, via the Deseret News:
Yeah, it's a tough way to open the season. But it prepares you well for the rest of the season because these will be two of the biggest, strongest and fastest teams we're going to see. So once we get to conference, I think it will help us out a lot.
Perhaps these first two games won't go swimmingly for Weber State, but at least the Wildcats will have some experience against tougher opponents before heading into conference play.
As for BYU, the Cougars have been lauded since dominating Washington State. ESPN commentators Mark Schlabach and Jesse Palmer called BYU the most underrated team in their weekly video reviews. Both said Nelson reminded them of former Heisman winner Tim Tebow, and also praised the BYU defense.
Weber State Player to Watch: Mike Hoke, QB
Mike Hoke went 25-of-32 for 202 yards and a touchdown against Fresno State, but he also averaged just 6.31 yards per attempt and threw an interception early in the fourth quarter.
Hoke will likely have to lead Weber State to a bunch of points to have a chance of beating BYU on Saturday so his play, and the play of the entire offense, will be key.
BYU Player to Watch: Riley Nelson, QB
Coming off an impressive junior season (1,717 yards, 19 touchdowns, seven interceptions), Riley Nelson is back at it again.
The senior went 25-of-36 for 285 yards and two touchdowns against Washington State, spreading the ball around to seven different players (three players had five receptions or more).
He could have a huge game against a Weber State defense that gave up 298 passing yards against Fresno State.
Key Matchup: Weber State Defense vs. BYU Passing Attack
Fresno State's Derek Carr did pretty much whatever he wanted against Weber State last week, which was predictable given the Wildcats allowed 272.1 passing yards per game last season (third worst in the FCS) and 27 passing touchdowns (tied for second worst).
Unless the Weber State defense shapes up, this will be another blowout.
Prediction: BYU 40, Weber State 10
I don't expect Weber State to slow BYU down, especially considering what the Cougars did against Washington State in Mike Leach's debut last week.
On the other side of the ball, Weber State shouldn't score much, considering the Wildcats scored 10 points against Fresno State and BYU held Washington State to six points last week.
This could get ugly in a hurry, folks.
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