Game location: LaVell Edwards Stadium (Provo, UT)
Game time/channel: 5pm PT/8pm ET (ESPN, Thursday)
Spread: -24.5 (BYU)
Head coach: Blake Anderson
2022 Season Thus Far
The season started off innocuously enough, with a win over a dreadful UCONN team before getting shutout and blown out by No. 1 Alabama. There’s no shame in that.
What there is shame in, is losing to an FCS opponent at home. Weber State not only defeated the Aggies in Logan, but handled them rather easily, winning 35-7.
As Utah State was still licking their wounds from that embarrassment, UNLV forced six turnovers to beat the Aggies in Logan 34-24 the next week.
The Aggies come into this matchup on a three-game losing streak and sit at 1-3.
2022 Team Rankings
Scoring offense: 123
Total offense: 102
Passing yards: 100
Rushing yards: 90
Scoring defense: 117
Total defense: 100
Pass yards allowed: 48
Rush yards allowed: 118
Other notable stat- 130th in penalty yards per game on offense
Biggest Strength- The fact that they played against Alabama
Frankly, most of Utah State’s numbers stink. The main reason why their passing defense looks good on paper is because teams haven’t needed to throw the ball much, since they can run at will. If there is anything to hang their hat on, it’s that they played against arguably the best team in all of college football in the Crimson Tide. They won’t play a better team than that, perhaps in many years to come. Maybe they can spin this as a way to get up for BYU, knowing the worst is already behind them with that game against ‘Bama. Nothing should intimidate them after playing Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Biggest Weakness- Run Defense
Teams have been gashing the Aggies on the ground. The Crimson Tide ran for 278 yards at a clip of 8.7 yards per carry. Even lowly UCONN was able to tally 245 rushing yards against Utah State. BYU should be able to impose their win at the line of scrimmage. They finally got the run game going against Wyoming with 188 rushing yards. The emergence of Miles Davis is a key development. After going off for 131 rushing yards on just 13 carries against the Cowboys, he might get an extended look on Thursday.
Best Player- Calvin Tyler Jr., RB
For the second week in a row, the best player on the opposition for BYU is their running back. Tyler ran for almost 900 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He is their best runner and leads the way again with 292 rushing yards thus far in 2022. He has tallied over 50 yards in three of the four games including going off against UCONN for 161 yards. BYU will need to shut him down to control the game.
How BYU Can Win
The philosophy is similar to their matchup with Wyoming- control the trenches and avoid critical mistakes. On paper, BYU is heavily favored and should be. This is a far cry from the Utah State squad that finished last year 11-3 and were Mountain West Conference champions. BYU should not only win, but win comfortably, so long as they maintain a strong running game. There are still some defensive miscues that need cleaned up from the Wyoming win but Utah State is not nearly at the level of physicality that Wyoming is. As long as BYU plays an average game with no critical turnovers, this game should be in their control.