After a not-so-impressive showing in their first conference game since joining the Pac-12, a 23-14 loss to USC, the Utah Utes will face Brigham Young in hopes of making a statement on what their team is capable of in this year’s edition of the “Holy War” in Provo on Saturday.
Utes v Cougars
Venue/Stadium: Lavell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah
Time/Date: 9:15 PM ET, Saturday, September 17, 2011
NFL Odds From: 5 Dimes
Moneyline: BYU -175, Utah +155
Spread (ATS): BYU -4, -110
Brigham Young’s year has been defined by mediocre play through their first two games of the season, partly by its inability to finish and in part to a Jekyll and Hyde defense.
After a lackluster offensive start in Week 1 to a lesser Ole Miss team, the Cougars’ defense came up big in the final quarter, forcing a game changing fumble that capped off a 14-point comeback.
The following week the defense faded allowing the now-24th-ranked Texas Longhorns to string together an 8-play scoring drive that sealed the deal with under three minutes to play.
Now the Cougars will have a chance to redeem their season against their in-state rival, but it won’t be easy as PAC-12 newcomer Utah comes into the game boasting one of the most talented front sevens in the nation, but also got dominated by a USC team that they should have been able to compete with.
Quarterback Jordan Wynn got beat up by the Trojans, completing just 50 percent of his passes for one touchdown. His performance was respectable considering how the rest of his team played though.
If BYU wants to come out of this game with a win, they will have to slow down Utah running back John White IV, much like USC did last week.
Against USC, White rushed for just 56 yards on a 2.8 average. If BYU can have the same success, it will be tough for Utah to come out on top.
That won’t be an easy task, even for a for a BYU defense that comes into the game having allowed just 15 points per game.
Meanwhile, the Cougs’ offense has sputtered through the first two games of the season, and a big reason for that is their running game. The team has failed to get over 100 yards rushing so far, and are yet to out the ball into the end zone on the ground.
This could end up being a huge problem as they will be facing the best defense they’ve seen all year.
If there is one thing that Utah does well it’s pop people in the mouth. Utah’s defense took a step back against USC, but I wouldn’t expect that to continue against BYU, and they should be able to hold the pedestrian running game of the Cougars at bay, at least enough to keep the team in the game.
Matt’s Prediction: Utah 24, BYU 20 – The Utes have the better team overall, especially on the defensive side of the ball. I expect BYU to get off to a slow start once again, and if they do, Utah is not a team they will likely come back on. The spread seems right on this one, so wagering either way is optional.
Cole started off as a part time handicapper and a full time computer programmer. After developing a computer program that consistently provided winners in NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports Cole went into full time handicapping. The computer program and his knack for winners made him a rising star in the handicapping world. His complex computer program based on algorithms and analytical calculations have led to a 60% ATS rate.