While in all reality this has no business being a very close game, this year, BYU has made the less challenging games far more challenging than they need to be.
I will give Arizona some credit, and a congratulations on their first bowl in 10 years, but not too much credit. What they have going for them is an experienced quarterback, and a vastly improved running game, but that is about it.
Unfortunately, they have the next to impossible task of bottling up Harvey Unga, Austin Collie, and Dennis Pitta. The only team to successfully do that, when they were all healthy, was TCU, and we all know how that ended up. Even Utah didn’t do that, they were just the beneficiary of a lot of turnovers. Arizona should be scared of how bad Max Hall will want to make up for those mistakes this Saturday.
This may come as a surprise to some of you, but BYU needs to get pressure on the quarterback to be successful on defense. That was the key to their success last year, and what has been lacking this year. Give all the credit in the world to Jan Jorgensen for having a decent season being double and triple teamed. If there was even one other player that could command some attention, he would have been an All-American this year.
As I said before, Arizona should be scared about Max Hall’s desire for redemption on Saturday, but at the same time so should BYU. He will be the difference maker in this game. If he comes out fired up having learned from his many mistakes at Utah, he will shred Arizona apart like he was doing early in the season. On the other hand if he comes out with only the emotion, he will start forcing things again and this game could get out of hand the other way.
Knowing how Bronco has been in the past, after a disheartening loss, I would look for BYU to come out full of emotion just like the UCLA game. If they get a few fortunate bounces and calls, this game could end up much the same way. More realistically I would say BYU will simply wear them out with a heavy dose of Harvey Unga (what they should have done at Utah) and then pull away with a couple of late scores to finish it off.
Final score: BYU 42-Arizona 21.