Date/Time: October 4, 2013 8:00 pm EST
Television: CBS Sports Network
College Football Betting Favorite: Utah State -6
The BYU Cougars used to beat up on the Utah State Aggies every year, but this intrastate rivalry has become much more competitive in the past few seasons. Utah State is no longer a bottom-feeder. The Aggies already have some very nice showings this season, and they would love nothing more than to beat BYU in front of a national television audience on Friday night.
The BYU Cougars are a tough team to figure out this year. They looked like one of the best teams in the nation when they ran for 550 yards against the Texas Longhorns en route to a 40-21 victory. On the other hand, the Cougars were beaten by two mediocre teams in Virginia and Utah earlier this year. BYU doesn’t have a road win so far this season, and they’ll have to step up their game against a very good Utah State team this week.
BYU has been one-dimensional on offense against good defenses. BYU can obviously run the football, but can they throw it enough to win? Taysom Hill is the team’s leading rusher from the quarterback position. Hill has completed only 40.6% of his passes though, and he has one touchdown and four interceptions. Jamaal Williams is the top running back for the Cougars, and he is expected to be back from an injury for this game. Defensively, BYU ranks 23rd in the nation in total defense. The Cougars are allowing 17.5 points per game on the season. Kyle Van Noy is an All-American candidate at the linebacker spot, and he is the leader of this unit.
Utah State has gradually become one of the best small school teams in the country. Gary Andersen did a great job taking this team from the bottom to the top, and now Matt Wells looks to continue that trend. The Aggies play in a more difficult division this year, so it will be a little tougher to finish on top. Utah State has lost two games this year, and both of them were heart breakers. The Aggies fell just short against Utah and USC.
Chuckie Keeton is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country. Keeton is a dual-threat quarterback who can run and throw it equally well. He has racked up 1,362 yards through the air this year. He has 17 touchdown passes compared to just one interception. Utah State has three running backs that see significant time, and all of them are averaging at least 4.5 yards per carry. The Aggies have six receivers with at least 13 receptions on the year. The Aggies defense is a veteran unit that has been very good the last couple years. Utah State’s defense is giving up only 17 points per game. It is a well-balanced defense that is much better than most people realize.
Free Pick: Under 57.5
BYU won 6-3 last year when these teams played. I’m certainly not expecting a game like that again, but this number seems too high. These defenses are both very solid.
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