Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
BYU is hosting a ranked team at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday.
The showdown against No. 14 Boise State will be historic as it will mark BYU’s fourth consecutive home game against a ranked opponent. The 14th-ranked Broncos add to what has been an amazing home schedule so far this season with Utah, USC and Washington all visiting Provo this year.
Boise State (6-0, 3-0 MWC) comes in undefeated after taking down Hawaii, 59-37, last week. However, it wasn’t all rosy for the Broncos who lost starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier to an injury in the second quarter. Backup quarterback Chase Cord didn’t seem to miss a step as the sophomore stepped in and threw for 175 yards in the win. The school hasn’t disclosed the severity of the Bachmeier’s injury, however, all signs point to Cord making his first career start on Saturday.
Meanwhile, BYU (2-4) comes in on a three-game losing streak after disappointing performances on the road against South Florida and Toledo. The loss was frustrating for Cougar fans as the team dominated time of possession, won the turnover battle, had more yards (439 to 315), fewer penalties and somehow still managed to lose the game. And with just six games left in the season, the Cougars will need to win at least four games for bowl eligibility.
Date: Saturday, October 19
Time: 8:15 p.m. MT
Announcers: Clay Matvick, Ryan Leaf, Taylor McGregor
Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470) — Provo, Utah
The Spread: Boise State -7
Money Line: Boise State -260, BYU +220
It’s no secret that BYU is one of the worst in the nation when it comes to stopping the run. In fact, the Cougars rank 123rd nationally in rushing defense. Boise State will look to exploit that after USF rushed for 243 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry last week. With a new quarterback starting under center, playing on the road and in what should be a loud and hostile environment, the Broncos will likely test the Cougars early in the running game as they look to get Cord into the flow of the game.
The Broncos have two solid running backs in Robert Mahone and George Holani. Both do a great job at sharing the load and both average more than five yards per carry. Mahone has 375 yards on 75 attempts so far this season with Holani right behind with 366 yards on 65 attempts.
Because they both share the load, the Bronco’s streak of having a 1,000-yard rusher may come to an end this season. Either way, the Cougar rushing defense is going to have their hands full Saturday night. And with BYU players sounding off about soft practices, and with the coaches feeling the frustrations of fans and players, it will be interesting to see how the Cougars come out and play. With their backs against the wall, players and coaches should be a lot more dialed in and focused compared to the past couple of games.
Players To Watch
Boise State — QBs Chase Cord and Jaylen Henderson
There’s still some uncertainty about Bachmeier and if he will try and play after going down with an apparent hip injury. If he can’t go, the Broncos could turn to Cord, senior Jaylon Henderson — or a combo of both. Cord got most of the playing time last week after Bachmeier went down last week as he completed 12 of 18 passes for 175 yards and three touchdowns. Henderson was 5 of 10 for 82 yards and a score.
BYU — QBs Jaren Hall and Baylor Romney
Making his first career start, freshman Jaren Hall had a good showing as he totaled 231 yards while rushing for a touchdown and throwing for another before going down with an injury in the fourth quarter. For his performance, Hall was named was named the College Sports Madness Independent Offensive Player of the Week.
Freshman Baylor Romney filled in for the remainder of the game after Hall went down and completed 6 of 10 passes for 73 yards. He did lead the Cougars down the field for a shot to win the game, but his final pass into the end zone was batted down to give USF the win.
Tough Schedule – According to the Jeff Sagarin, BYU has played the 11th toughest schedule in college football through six games. BYU’s opponents have won 61% of their games, going a combined 44-28 through the first half of the season.
The Series – BYU and Boise State will be playing for the 10th time in the series. Boise State leads the series 7-2 and are urrently on a three-game winning streak over the Cougars. The two teams have played every year since 2012 and will continue to do so until 2023. After taking off the 2024 season, the two progams will play from 2025-2034.
Homecoming Game – The game between the Broncos and Cougars will be the annual homecoming game at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The Cougars are 2-1 under Kalani Sitake in homecoming games.
Prediction: No. 14 Boise State 24, BYU 16
Throw out the rankings and the records, because the games between these two programs always seem to go down to the wire.
BYU has lost several close games against Boise State over the years, including last year’s heartbreaking 21-16 loss on the blue turf as the Cougars were stopped on the two-yard line as time ran out. The Cougars will look to avenge last year’s loss and also snap a three-game losing streak to the Broncos.
At first glance and the way BYU has played over the past two games, Boise State is an easy pick. However, knowing the history of these two teams and with both programs playing with their second and third string quarterbacks, along with BYU players and coaches playing with their backs against the wall, I’m not sure what to expect. However, until BYU head coach Kalani Sitake can prove he can beat Boise State and BYU’s run defense shows improvement, I have to go with the Broncos.
Vegas has the over/under at 46 points, however, it should be noted that those who have taken the under are 6-2 in the past eight meetings in this series. And with cold temperatures and rain in the forecast, I expect another low scoring game between these two teams.