The 42-23 beatdown of UNLV was pretty close to what many expected, and also what some probably feared would not happen. But despite the Cougars struggles going back to early October they are still a better team than UNLV.
So let's just cut to the chase, for as bad as UNLV and MTSU are, Savannah State is far worse. The Tigers lost to Middle Tennessee State 61-7, a team BYU beat by 20 on the road. The Tigers are 0-11 this season. The last win for Savannah State was September 14, 2013, a 27-20 win over Fort Valley State University. That adds up to a 20-game losing streak for the Tigers.
Nobody, and I mean nobody is expecting BYU to lose this one and everyone is planning on watching a complete rout. FCS teams beat FBS teams from time to time, it's not exactly uncommon. But is arguably the worst team in the FCS going to beat even just a slightly above average BYU team this year? Not likely. Savannah State can't even get wins against teams within it's own division.
I think you get the picture, Savannah State is a bad team. So I think you'll forgive me if the predictions seem a little bit too bold. We're going to go somewhere we've never gone before with the predictions this week.
1. The Cougars will shut out Savannah State
A shutout? When was the last time BYU shutout an opponent? That came against the University of Hawaii on September 28, 2012, Taysom Hill's first start and a 47-0 victory at Lavell Edwards Stadium. To put that in perspective that was arguably the best BYU defense in decades. This season's defense is far from being even close to that defense, despite there being some potential stars, particularly Fred Warner and Dallin Leavitt.
On the other hand, North Carolina A&T just beat the Tigers 34-0 last week. The Aggies are one of the best teams in the conference but they're still not BYU. I'll just say this, despite the Cougars defensive struggles there is no reason to believe they can't shut out the Tigers. They've been playing with a bunch of backups lately and they've been strong the past two weeks against opponents superior to the Tigers.
2. Christian Stewart will pass for 400+ yards
I would have put this number higher but I don't see him playing the fourth quarter, he may not even play the second half at all. The game should be so completely in the books that there will be little reason to keep Stewart playing in the fourth, let alone the second half. If BYU is up by 40 points going into the half (very possible) than I wouldn't expect them to risk injury to Stewart and therefore needing to go further down the quarterback depth chart for the remaining two games.
He does like to throw the deep ball and I would expect to see Leslie and Mathews get behind the Tiger secondary a fair amount. Even if he does only play the first half a few long touchdowns will go a long way to eclipsing 400 yards or getting very close to it.
3. Devon Blackmon will score a touchdown
The entire season a lot of Cougar nation has been waiting for Blackmon to break out and show off his incredible speed. But other than a touchdown that was called back by an illegal formation penalty he hasn't done a whole lot on the offensive end, yet. BYU's first choice receivers, like Stewart, are likely to sit out the last one or two quarters. Blackmon should get close to a full second half of work. He's all but guaranteed to be the fastest man on the field. His speed should be more than enough to find the end zone against a subpar Savannah State defense. The Tigers will also be punting the ball a very large amount, thus likely giving Blackmon plenty of chances to take it back to the house on a punt return. No matter how he gets touches (and he should) it won't be all surprising to see Devon Blackmon find his way into the end zone for six.
4. Scott Arellano will punt it only once
The BYU offense should be so far superior to the Savannah State defense that scoring on every possession should be expected, even if it's just a field goal. Even the second team offense probably has a good shot to really move the ball. So yes, this may sound kind of ridiculous considering Arellano is punting the ball 5.4 times per game but don't say it couldn't happen.
5. BYU will break 60 points
If Middle Tennessee State can score 60 on these guys why can't BYU? A great question! The argument can be made that the Cougars don't like to run up the score. But scoring 40 points in the first half should be very doable. On top of that, this is a good opportunity to build for the future and give the younger guys a chance to run the offense and still put points on the board. They'll likely only need 20-24 points to reach 60 overall for the game. I think everyone wants to see the Cougars reach the 60 point mark and completely destroy a team, even if it is Savannah State. What does that say about the team if they can't even score 60 on these Tigers?
There isn't much else to say that hasn't already been said. Let's just leave it at this. Cougars win in a blowout 66-0.