The highly anticipated “Holy War” between BYU and Utah is almost here! As every fan in Utah knows, this game means a lot for both teams. Even though neither of the two teams are ranked, they are both on the brink of the top 25, and I expect the winner of this game to be ranked in the AP top 25 next.
For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I have selected Utah to win this game. So I want to discuss my reasons behind why I think the Utes will win this tough game, and try to predict the final score.
Utah vs BYU
Utah is coming into this game with a 5 game win streak against the BYU Cougars. They are known for being a very physical team that likes to play tough defense, and run the ball. This has worked for the Utes the past 5 years, but there are a few things different about this years team. For starters, QB Troy Williams is trying to bring an improved passing attack that the Utes have been missing for the past 4-5 years.
Williams made his debut as the starting QB for the Utes last week against SUU. He looked very comfortable in the pocket, and made smart decisions with the ball. The Utes will most likely continue their passing attack against the Cougars, and balance it with their solid rushing attack.
BYU has also had a lot of big changes over the past year or so. New coaching staff, Taysom Hill is back and healthy, and so is star RB Jamaal Williams. Last week the Cougars looked sharp against the Arizona Wildcats and were able to throw and run the ball very well. The most impressive thing about BYU so far has been their defense. They have a lot more athleticism and speed on defense than they have had in recent years. Harvey Langi has looked great at his new position (DE) and so has Francis Bernard at (LB).
But here is why I think the Utes have the upper hand in this years Holy War:
- Home Field Advantage. There will still probably be a lot of BYU fans attending the game since the two teams are only about 45 minutes away from each other, but out of the 96 total match-ups between the 2 teams, Utah has only lost 16 at home.
- Defensive Scoring. Utah’s defense was tied for 3rd in the country last year for scoring defenses. Utah will win the turnover battle in this game, and they will make the most out of each turnover they get.
- Battle of the Trenches. This is where Utah is great this year. They have arguably one of the best D-Lines in the entire country, and their O-Line is even better than they were last year. Look for them to really set the tempo from the line of scrimmage.
BYU is also a really good team, there’s no denying that. But I because of those three reasons, Utah has the edge this year. This will be a hard-fought battle for both teams, and will most likely be a close scoring game.
Final Score Prediction: Utah 24-21
This game kicks off tomorrow, September 10th at 5:30 PM MST and will be aired on FOX.
Utah State vs USC
With all the hype around the Holy War going on, the Aggies are preparing to face one of the most dominant football programs in the country: the USC Trojans. Utah State played very well against Weber St. last week, and they were able to control the tempo of the game by running the ball 44 times for 428 yards. They are currently tied for 1st place in rushing yards in the nation.
Expect them to continue to run the ball with Devante Mays, but don’t expect them to do as well as they did last week because the Trojans are a much, much better team than Weber St.
Final Score Prediction: USC 42-14
This game kicks off tomorrow, September 10th at 12:00 PM MST in Los Angeles, and will be aired on the Pac-12 Network.
– Jesse Thayne