Utah State vs. BYU: Last-Minute Spread Info, Predictions

Eric BowmanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2011

The Utah State Aggies will travel two hours south to take on the BYU Cougars in a battle that BYU hopes to prove it's not the worst college football program in the state. 

Two weeks ago BYU was demolished 54-10 at the hands of the Utah Utes, and the Cougars really don't want to lose to Utah State for the second year in a row. 

Before last year, the Cougars had beaten the Aggies 10 straight times dating back to 1993. BYU is out for revenge, but this is no longer a guaranteed win for the Cougars. 

With that said, let's delve into some specifics about this instate rivalry. 

When: Friday, Sept. 30, 8 p.m. EDT

Where: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, Utah

Watch: ESPN, ESPN3.com



According to bodog.com, the Cougars are favored at -8. Take the Aggies here since you're getting eight points because the Cougars haven't shown they're a dominant team this year. This will be a close game, and BYU isn't going to cover. 



The over/under is set at 51. Take the under here because the Cougars defense will hold the Aggies in check, but at the same time their offense will struggle to put points on the board just like every other game this year. 


Key injuries 

Cougar's starting linebacker Jordan Pendleton (ankle) and starting offensive lineman Houston Reynolds (shoulder) remain questionable for Friday night, and freshman wide receiver Ross Apo is questionable with a head injury. Apo sufferd a concussion last week and has been monitored all week. 

Utah State defensive lineman Al Lapuaho is recovering from a sprained ankle, and while he isn't fully healthy the Aggies expect him to play on Friday night. Lapuaho is a great pass rusher, which the Aggies could really use on the field.


BCS/Top 25 implications 

Neither team has much hope of making the Top 25 polls this year. The Aggies play in the WAC, and in order to reach the polls in that conference you have to pretty much win every game.

The Cougars are now an independent team, which does it make easier to crack the rankings, but they're just not good enough this year. At 2-2 right now, BYU hasn't shown it's worthy of being ranked anytime soon.


Keys to Utah State win 

 The Aggies need to get consistent pressure on sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps, and creating turnovers will greatly help them win this game. They're good at stopping the run, but the Cougars focus more on the pass.

Utah State will need to play smart football on the road if it wants to have a shot at winning. A steady run game is also needed on Friday night in order to wear down the Cougars defense. 


Keys to BYU win 

The Cougars aren't very good at running ball, but they need to have a balanced attack on Friday night or else it will be difficult to find success. BYU ranks 116th in the country right now, averaging 68 rushing yards per game. 

Heaps has to avoid turning the ball over. He's thrown five interceptions so far this season and only three touchdowns. 



The Aggies have fared better against tougher opponents this season, so I give them the edge on Friday night. It may be a home game for the Cougars, but their offense will once again be off. 

Heaps will turn the ball over, and that will be the difference-maker as the Aggies make the most of it and put points on the board. 


Utah State 27, BYU 20  



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