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Houston Cougars vs. BYU Cougars Game Preview

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After a dominant first game, the Coogs will be tested more on both sides of the football.

NCAA Football: Tulane at Houston Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

DATE: Friday, October 16th
START TIME: 8:30pm CT
LINE: BYU -5.5
LOCATION: TDECU Stadium (Houston, TX)


Houston Key Players

QB Clayton Tune: Two turnovers of his turned into 14 points for Tulane, but he dug in and found a way to move on from his mistakes last week. Houston’s offense couldn’t be stopped once he took care of the football.

WR Marquez Stevenson: Electric speedster who’s finally found some stability in his coaching staff. Scored once through the air and once as a returner against the Green Wave.

C Jack Freeman: Struggled at times with Jeffrey Johnson up the middle, but also made some key blocks. His play against Khyiris Tonga will play a huge role this week.

DE Payton Turner: Monster 4.5 tackles for loss performance just the beginning. He’ll face an even tougher offensive line, but it will give us a good benchmark for how good Turner will be this year.

LB Donavan Mutin: Keeping Zach Wilson in check falls on the shoulders of Mutin, and it’s not an easy one. The BYU offense goes where Wilson leads them, and they present a unique challenge for the Cougars.

BYU Key Players

QB Zach Wilson: Arguably the biggest riser in next year’s NFL Draft is off to a Heisman-worthy start, and the Cougars are undefeated because of him.

RB Tyler Allgeier: Running back with a ton of speed is averaging 7.4 yards per rush, thanks to a dominant offensive line.

OT Brady Christensen: One of the key players on an offensive line that has as much of an effect on BYU’s success as Wilson. They’ll face a Houston front seven that produced six sacks last week.

DT Khyiris Tonga: He won’t put up the stats that get noticed, but he’s a dominant factor in the trenches. Houston’s rushing attack wasn’t dominant by any means, and Tonga himself could eliminate that part of their offense.

S Troy Warner: Brother of San Francisco 49er Fred is following in his older bros footsteps. Made a highlight reel interception against Louisiana Tech.

Houston Keys to the Game

Establish the run: Kyler Porter led the team with 57 yards rushing last week, and the Cougars rushing attack might need to play a bigger role if they want to take down undefeated BYU.

Avoid a horrendous start: A repeat of last week’s first quarter won’t be overcome so easily this week. BYU is a much better team than Tulane, and spotting them a 24-7 lead might be too much to undo.

Limit Wilson: BYU’s offense goes where Wilson takes them, and Houston’s main goal should be limiting his effect on the game. The defensive line thrived against the Green Wave mainly thanks to their quickness at the snap and around the edge. That group must figure out what their countermoves will be, because BYU’s offensive line won’t let them dominate like that.

BYU Keys to the Game

Force turnovers early: Tulane took advantage of early turnovers, but couldn’t hang on to the lead. BYU’s defense is more than capable of keeping Houston’s offense in check. Early turnovers could put Houston in a position they can’t escape.

Limit pass rush: Payton Turner and the rest of the defensive line had a field day against Tulane’s offensive line, and that will be the quickest way for BYU’s offense to succeed.

Box Stevenson: Houston’s offense is full of playmakers, but taking away Stevenson would be the quickest way to slowing the Cougars attack. His speed should give BYU’s secondary trouble, but if they can find a way to take him away, Houston might find it tough to move the football.

Prediction

Houston got off to a strong start (after the first quarter of course), but they better hope the rust is gone. BYU’s a mostly polished team already through four games, and Houston’s still learning. I think Houston can find ways to succeed against BYU on both sides of the ball, but I’m tempering my expectations. I don’t think they’ll get blown out, but I think BYU’s the better team right now. BYU 31 HOUSTON 28