Friday’s showdown between No. 22 BYU (2-0) and Louisiana Tech (2-0) features two high-powered offenses and two undefeated teams.
One side will get its first loss of the season when the Cougars host the Bulldogs in the first-ever matchup between both programs Friday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
For BYU, the 22nd-ranked Cougars come in as one of the hottest teams in the country as they’ve dominated both Navy and Troy. So far, BYU has outscored its opponents 103-10 and outgained them 1,244 yards to 330 yards. In fact, it was just the second time in program history that the Cougars have scored 100+ combined points through the first two games of the season.
The domination doesn’t stop there as the team has only punted twice and could have ran the score up even higher if they didn’t take a knee near the goal line in each of the two games late in the fourth quarter.
On the opposite side, Louisiana Tech comes in after beating Southern Miss (31-30) and Houston Baptist (66-38). The Bulldogs received two votes in the Coaches Poll and look to get their first signature win of the season. Louisiana Tech is a decent team and is coming off a 10-win season last year, which includes a 14-0 victory over Miami in the 2019 Independence Bowl. Miami is currently ranked No. 8 in the nation right now.
Date: Friday, October 2
Time: 7:00 p.m MDT
Announcers: Dave Flemming, Andre Ware, Stormy Buonantony
Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,725) — Provo, Utah
– BYU is 4-1 straight up in its last five home games.
– The total has hit the over in six of BYU’s last 10 games.
– Louisiana Tech is 8-2 against the spread (ATS) in its last 10 games.
– The total has hit the under in 10 of Louisiana Tech’s last 13 road games.
The line opened with BYU as a 22-point favorite over Louisiana Tech. The line then jumped to -25 within 30 minutes and is currently sitting at -24.5. The over/under for the game opened at 54 and currenty sits at 59.
So far this season, BYU closed as a 1-point favorite at Navy and 14.5-point favorite against Troy. With consecutive blowout wins for the Cougars, the Vegas oddsmakers have taken notice with how dominant the Cougars have been.
BYU’s offense has been putting on a show as the Cougars are averaging 51.5 points and 622 yards per game. In last week’s win, BYU quarterback Zach Wilson completed 23 of 29 passes for a career-high 392 yards and two touchdowns against Troy. He also rushed for two touchdowns.
“He’s throwing the ball really well and he’s seeing things really well,” said BYU head coach Kalani Sitake. “He’s played a lot of games for us and the guys look to him as a leader.”
Wilson’s favorite targets so far this season have been wide receivers Dax Milne and Gunner Romney. The duo have combined for 447 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 catches. The duo has given BYU a consistent downfield threat that the team has severely lacked in recent years. With Louisiana Tech giving up 335 passing yards per game, Romney and Milne should have big games and Wilson might just top 400 yards this week.
The passing game should continue to help BYU’s running backs have a lot of room to run. Tyler Allgeier and Lopini Katoa have combined for 338 yards and four touchdowns to go with an average of 7.5 yards per carry.
While the blowout wins have been nice, the team is making sure not to overlook any opponent.
“All it means is we can’t get too big of an ego, too big of a head, going into the Louisiana Tech game,” said Wilson. “We are a good offense, but it means nothing if we stop it now.”
Like BYU, Louisiana Tech has been on a roll on offense as the Bulldogs are averaging 48.5 points and 461.5 yards per game so far this season.
Louisiana Tech began the season with a 31-30 victory at Southern Miss, then crushed Houston Baptist 66-38 in its home opener. Senior quarterback Luke Anthony threw for 314 yards, five touchdowns and ran for another in the win.
While the game was close against Southern Miss, the Bulldogs were also missing a bunch of starters due to COVID-19. However, the team still found a way to win as Anthony hit Griffin Hebert for the game-winning touchdown with less than 15 seconds to go in the game.
“We’ve got some weapons out on the perimeter, and (we’re) throwing the deep ball really well,” said Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz. “Luke can definitely play better, but I’m really proud. He’s only been in this offense five weeks, so he’s really playing well. Overall, I was pleased with the way we came in and competed.”
The Bulldog offense will face arguably its biggest test of the entire season on Friday as they go up against a Cougar defense that is ranked in the Top 10 in a number of categories. To date, BYU’s defense has recorded nine sacks and currently leads the nation in passing defense (96.0 yards per game), as well as total defense (165 yards per game). Opponents are also completing just 57% percent of their passes.
Prediction BYU 47, Louisiana Tech 17
Yes, Louisiana Tech won 10 games last year and has won six consecutive bowl games, however, the Bulldogs will be clearly outmatched in this one.
This BYU squad is not the rollercoaster type team that fans have been used to watching over the years with wins against Wisconsin, USC and Tennessee, only to turn around and lose to Toledo, East Carolina, Fresno State, etc. Cougar fans can expect another blowout victory with BYU leading from start to finish and cruising its way to victory.
The biggest question that remains is, will Wilson get pulled again before hitting 400 yards?
The Series — BYU and Louisiana Tech are meeting for the first time. The Bulldogs are coming off a 10-win season in 2019 and six consecutive bowl victories. Former BYU head coaches Gary Crowton (2001-2004) and Bronco Mendenhall (2005-2015) each spent several years at Louisiana Tech before coming to BYU.
Conference USA — The Bulldogs are one of three teams from Conference-USA that BYU will play this year. The Cougars will take on UTSA next week and Western Kentucky later in the year.
Top 10 — Through two games, BYU is not only dominating on the field, but statistically as well. The Cougars are No. 2 in scoring offense and No. 2 in scoring defense. BYU ranks No. 1 in total defense and No. 4 in total offense.
Honors — Following last week’s big win, Zach Wilson was named one of the Davey O’Brien Award Great 8 quarterbacks for the week. His career-best 392 yards also earned him a spot on the Davey O’Brien Watch List. Wilson was also named one of eight quarterbacks as a Manning Award Star of the Week for the second time this season. Not to be outdone, left tackle Brady Christensen was named to the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after grading out as one of the top offensive lineman in the country. Both Wilson and Christensen are ranked No. 2 in PFF’s rankings.