Utah vs. BYU fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Thursday, August 29
Game Time: 10:15 ET
Venue: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UT
Utah (0-0) vs. BYU (0-0) Game Preview
No pressure, but kick off the season with a Thursday night nationally televised game against your arch-rival in a game that could make or break the season before the end of August.
BYU beat Utah in Provo to close out the 2009 regular season. Since then it’s been all Utes on an eight-game winning streak, including last year’s 35-27 battle.
Beating Utah would make the season for some BYU fans, but a loss could be a big, big problem with at Tennessee, USC and Washington to follow. The Cougars have won five straight openers, and haven’t lost a home opener since 2005.
Utah gets it relatively easy for a while – Northern Illinois and Idaho State – after the date an hour down the road. For the defending Pac-12 South champs, the expectations are sky-high – this is the type of game they have to take down, even if the rival is jacked up.
Why Utah Will Win
The Utah defense finished fifth in the nation and first in the Pac-12 against the run, and now the line should be even better. The BYU offensive front returns a ton of experience, and a few strong backs are in place who’ll be able to pound away, but it’s going to be passing game-or-bust.
BYU managed to get up early in last year’s game, and it ran for 153 yards on the day in the 35-27 defeat, but the offense almost certainly won’t control the clock like it was able to do – keeping the ball for over 34 minutes.
The bigger key will be the Utah offensive backfield. QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zack Moss didn’t play in last year’s game – both were out injured – and now, as long as rumors of Moss injuries his hand aren’t true, they’ll be in the mix.
Why BYU Will Win
BYU can play a little defense, too.
Not having to face Huntley or Moss helped, but the Cougar D held Utah to under 300 yards last time around. This year’s D should be even stronger with most of the top tacklers returning for a group that’s going to be a bear against the run.
The real excitement is on the other side of the ball, with QB Zach Wilson looking to pick up where he left off after a strong finishing kick – he completed 20-of-29 passes for 204 yards and two scores with a pick, and he ran for 73 yards – and with a terrific group of receivers to work with.
As nasty as the Utah defense will be, Wilson has the ability to get hot early on with the short-to-midrange passes. As long as he’s not turning the ball over, the Cougar O will move.
What’s Going To Happen
BYU will be jacked up at home, and it’ll show on defense in a low scoring game with a few big momentum swings.
The return of the Utah offensive stars in the backfield will matter in the second half, the Ute D will slow down Wilson after having a few problems in the first half, and it’ll be nine straight in the most fun game on a busy Thursday.
Fearless Prediction & Line
Utah 26, BYU 20
Line: Utah -6.5, o/u: 48.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 1.5
Want a 2nd opinion on who to bet in the Utah vs BYU game? Click here to get the side and total, as well as the 1st half side and total – and even prop bets! All courtesy of WinnersAndWhiners.com.
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