Taking a look at an early Week Six matchup between Boise State and BYU.
The contest will take place tonight at 7:15 p.m. MT on ESPN2.
Who are the BYU Cougars?
Boise State Broncos will take on the Brigham Young Cougars tonight in a Friday night showdown in Provo, Utah. The 2-2 Broncos are looking to add their third overall victory and just their second non-conference win at LaVell Edwards Stadium over a languishing 1-4 BYU squad.
1. The Cougars have really struggled to score points this season, as they have only put up just 49 points over a span of five games while going 1-4. What will it take for BYU to get something going offensively against Boise State, and do you predict a sudden explosion of production in Provo this Friday night?
Mitch Harper: BYU is synonymous with excellent offense over the years, but this season’s offense has possibly been the worst the program has seen from a production standpoint in 50-plus years. It’s bad right now. They made progress against Utah State, but they still only scored 17 points on the offensive end. Running back Ula Tolutau has emerged as their feature running back, but how big of a workload can he take on is a huge question. If BYU can find success in chunk yardage plays, they will have success against the Broncos, but if there are no chunk plays, expect a lot of the same from previous games.
2. Last week, BYU struggled against Mountain West opponent Utah State, as they scored just three points in the second half on their way to a 40-24 loss. The Broncos have scored a significant amount of points this season, so can Kalani Sitake’s defense rebound against Bryan Harsin’s offensive attack.
MH: BYU’s defense will be fine. Kalani Sitake and defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki have done a nice job on the defensive side of the ball. Despite BYU coughing up the football seven times against the Aggies, BYU was still within six points for a majority of the second half. The defense has been put in many difficult spots this season, but they’ve been resilient. Keep an eye on true freshman defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga. Some around the BYU program have said he could become the Cougars version of Haloti Ngata or Lowell Lotulelei, and he’s already been near dominant.
3. BYU’s quarterbacks have combined to throw ten interceptions this season, the most in the nation. At publishing time, it is unknown whether Tanner Mangum, Beau Hoge, or Koy Detmer Jr. will start. Whoever it is, do you think their turnover woes will continue against Boise State?
MH: Expect Tanner Mangum to get the start on Friday night. Mangum has been getting a majority of the first team reps in practice and he will get the start. His ankle injured was suffered on the last play against rival Utah nearly a month ago and the original timeframe for him to be out was four to six weeks. So the timeframe matches up. Mangum won’t be 100-percent, but I think he understands it’s critical for him to regain the starting role and play well because backup Beau Hoge looked very good in his limited time before going out with an injury in his own right. No better time than now for Mangum to gain confidence against his hometown Broncos.
4. Who are some BYU standouts that Boise State fans should look out for?
MH: Keep an eye on center Tejan Koroma and outside linebacker Fred Warner. Both are senior captains and have been two of the bright spots in an otherwise dark season for BYU thus far. According to ESPN’s Adam Amin, who will be on the call for the game, he said Warner is one of the best players in the country that no one is talking about.
5. How do you envision this game playing out?
My prediction: Boise State: 34, BYU: 13
How to watch: 7:15 p.m. MT on ESPN2