No. 19 BYU (3-1) hosts in-state rival Utah State (1-3) on Thursday in the Battle for the Old Wagon Wheel at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The teams have met 90 times, with BYU leading the all-time series 50-37-3. The Cougars won the last year’s meeting in Logan with a 34-20 victory, despite being down to third string quarterback Jacob Conover at the time.
Luckily for Cougar fans, Jaren Hall won’t be missing this game this time as the junior quarterback looks to add to his prolific start so far this season. Hall has thrown for more than 1,000 yards already and is completing more than 71% of his passes. His touchdown (9) to interception (1) ratio is also one of the best in the nation.
The Cougars have won 7 out of the last 10 games against the Aggies and look to keep the current two-game rivalry streak going.
Date: Thursday, September 29
Time: 6:00 p.m. MT
Announcers: Matt Barrie (play-by-play), Louis Riddick (analyst), Harry Lyles Jr. (sideline)
Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470) — Provo, Utah
All-Time Series: 50-37-3 (BYU leads)
At BYU: 28-18-1
At Utah State: 19-19-2
Last 10 Meetings
• BYU 27, Utah State 24 (Sep. 30, 2011)
• BYU 6, Utah State 3 (Oct. 5, 2012)
• BYU 31, Utah State 14 (Oct. 4, 2013)
• Utah State 35, No. 18 BYU 20 (Oct. 3, 2014)
• BYU 51, Utah State 28 (Nov. 28, 2015)
• BYU 28, Utah State 10 (Nov. 26, 2016)
• Utah State 40, BYU 24 (Sep. 29, 2017)
• Utah State 45, BYU 20 (Oct. 5, 2018)
• BYU 42, Utah State 14 (Nov. 2, 2019)
• No. 13 BYU 34, Utah State 20 (Oct. 1, 2021)
The Spread: BYU -24.5
Money Line: BYU -2,500, Utah State +1,100
When betting lines first opened, BYU was a 23.5 favorite. That has held steady for most of the week with the Cougars now favored by 24.5 points. The over/under has stayed relatively the same and currently stands at 60. In regards to the money line, oddsmakers are still favoring BYU at -2,500. The money line simply involves picking the winning team. With BYU at -2,500, those picking the Cougars would have to risk $2,500 to win $100. However, for those picking Utah State, one would win $1,100 for his/her $100 wager.
SP+, a predictive analytics tool created by ESPN’s Bill Connelly, has BYU beating Utah State 42-16. With a 93% chance of beating Utah State, this is lower than what ESPN’s Football Power Index is giving the Cougars. As of right now, the FPI gives BYU a 95.2% chance of beating the Aggies. For an in-depth look at ESPN’s FPI predictions for BYU this year, and how accurate/bad it’s been over the years, click here.
After coming off his best performance of the season — with four touchdown passes and a season-high 337 yards passing — Jaren Hall looks to take another step forward against what is arguably one of the worst teams that BYU will play all season.
Despite the Aggies winning 11 games last year and finishing in the Top 25, Utah State doesn’t look anything like it a year later, despite bringing back starting quarterback Logan Bonner. The 6-foot-1 senior has not looked like himself this year throwing 8 interceptions in the past two games and an offense that can’t score as the aggies are averaging just 15.5 points per game, including an embarrassing 35-7 home loss to FCS Weber State.
From a plethora of penalties and turnovers, Thursday’s game is setting up to be a terrific gift for the BYU defense, which has struggle to create turnovers this year. In fact, BYU’s defense is ranked 124th in the nation in turnovers gained as the Cougars have just 2 takeaways on the season.
On the flip side, the Utah State defense is going to have its hands full as the Aggies come in giving up 36 points per game and more than 400 yards of total offense. For BYU players, coaches and fans, this game comes at a perfect time as the Cougars have been bitten by the injury bug, with a number of star players already missing time, including the top two receivers in Gunner Romney and Puka Nacua. With upcomign games against Arkansas and Notre Dame, the Cougars will try and rest as many star players as they can Thursday to keep them healthy and fresh in what will be another difficult two-week stretch.
Luckily for Hall, even with Romney, Nacua and Roberts banged up this year, a number of other players have stepped right up as Keanu Hill showed everyone last week with his career-high 160 yards and two touchdown performances.
The biggest question mark for BYU is who is going to start at running back as Miles Davis, Christopher Brooks and Lopini Katoa are all listed as co-starters in the backfield this week. It’s been a a running back by committee so far this year as Kalani Sitake goes with whoever has the hot hand at the moment. That’s why Davis had a breakout game as the freshman ran for a career-high 131 yards on 13 carries. Will Davis have another repeat performance?
Prediction: BYU 41, Utah State 16
This has a similar feel to the Wyoming game. BYU will likely start slow before pulling away in the second half en route to another blowout victory. Let’s remember, this is Utah State’s Super Bowl game and players and coaches will be amped and pumped at the start of the game. And with BYU dropping future games against the Aggies because of the move to the Big 12, this last game between the two programs has even more riding on it than usual.
But let’s be honest, Utah State is a not a good football team this year. The Aggies could barely beat UConn — arguably one of the worst programs in all of college football over the past decade — and they also lost to FCS Weber State at home (35-7). For these reasons, I believe BYU will cover the spread and the Cougars will roll to another victory at home as they turn their eyes to next week’s showdown against Notre Dame at Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.
TOP 25. BYU is No. 19 in Associated Press Top 25 and ranks No. 20 in the Coaches Poll. BYU is 21-6 under head coach Kalani Sitake when playing as a ranked team. The Cougars have appeared in 13 consecutive AP Top 25 polls dating back to October 17, 2021 when they were receiving votes just outside the Top 25. BYU has been ranked in 34 of the last 37 AP Top 25 polls going back to the start of the 2020 season. The 34 appearances since 2020 is the 7thmost in the nation during that time span (Alabama/Georgia 38, Ohio State/Texas A&M 36, Notre Dame/Oklahoma 35).
MANNING STAR OF THE WEEK. Quarterback Jaren Hall was named one of eight Manning Award Stars of the Week. Hall completed 26 of 32 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns, setting a career mark for completion percentage (81.3) and led BYU to a 38-24 win over Wyoming.
LAVELL’S 50th ANNIVERSARY. The 2022 season marks the 50th anniversary of Hall of Fame coach LaVell Edwards being named the head coach at BYU. In the 47 seasons prior to Edwards, BYU had won 173 games, ranking 113th nationally. Since Edwards’ takeover in 1972, BYU has won 432 games, tied for No. 8 nationally. BYU more than doubled its average win total per season from under 4 to 8.6. Edwards won multiple national coach of the year awards and led BYU to the 1984 national championship and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The program will honor him in various ways this season to
highlight his legacy.