BYU and Utah State face off Friday night in what is one of the biggest matchups in the history of the series. To get to know Utah State, we talked to Alex Eiden of SB Nation’s MWC Connection to preview the Aggies.
1. Utah State has put up a lot of points this year. What are the Aggies strengths on offense?
Jordan Love has been great and is poised in the pocket. He’s got a solid receiving group, let by Ron’Quavion Tarver and Dax Raymond. It also helps that they’ve got a nice duo of running backs to pick and choose from. Gerold Bright and Darwin Thompson are lightning bolts who can score on a dime. The offense is ranked fourth nationally in points per game.
2. How has the Aggies defense looked? What are the strengths and weaknesses on that side of the ball?
The defense is for sure the weak point of the team. That’s not to say they’re bad by any means, but they certainly need to tighten up. They’re giving up lots of total yardage per game and have given up 35 PPG to their quality opponents (those being MSU and AFA). Their biggest strength is taking the ball away, as they have 10 takeaways through 4 games.
3. BYU’s best games have been when they’ve owned the line of scrimmage. How is Utah State on the O-Line and D-Line?
Both lines have been solid, with the DL garnering 11 total sacks so far in the season. The offensive line, led by Quin Ficklin, has been instrumental in USU’s explosive offensive numbers. The OL has only allowed 6 sacks so far.
4. How is Utah State doing health wise?
Luckily, the Aggies have been virtually injury free through four games. The only issue is that starting offensive lineman Moroni Iniguez is currently dealing with an unspecified injury and he’s questionable for Friday’s game against the Cougars.
5. What is your prediction for the game?
I believe it comes down to whoever’s defense can come up with the big stop late. Both teams are susceptible to the big play, so whoever can clamp down first will make a huge impact on the outcome. Saying that, I still expect lots of points on the scoreboard. I think Utah State’s ability to take the ball away is too impressive to ignore, so I give them the edge to retain the Old Wagon Wheel.
Final Score: Utah State 38, BYU 34