Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UT
Kickoff: Saturday, October 24th 9:15 pm CST
Radio: San Marcos: AM 1300, 930 AM, 89.9 FM. Provo: KBYU-FM 89.1 FM, KUMT 107.9 FM
Series Record: First meeting.
Betting Line: BYU -28 1⁄2 , O/U: 60
A fill-in game after a number of programs shut down after the pandemic, Texas State make their first trip to Utah since their FCS days and BYU take on their third opponent in a row from the Lone Star State.
A matchup on paper that breeds the usual comments from opposing fan bases. “Who is Texas State?” or “We must be playing the Armadillos.” But not so fast! All season the Bobcats have stayed in the important games.
A seven point loss to undefeated SMU, a missed kick away from taking down UTSA, and a last second field goal against Boston College in Chestnut Hill could’ve had the ‘Cats at 4-0. But since the bye week, the Bobcats have lost convincingly to fellow Sun Belt members in the last two games.
BYU did get taken to the limit by the Roadrunners a couple of weeks ago, but the Cougars are stacked like a Wendy’s Baconator.
Texas State Keys to Victory
- Air out the ball. The Bobcats seem to be missing this point of scaring the opponent into respecting the passing attack. BYU has a knack for letting the opposing team air out the ball, especially from behind. Whoever is under center for Texas State will be faced with the daunting task of keeping up with a high powered defense. If the Bobcats can even toss a few scares into the secondary, the BYU defense will have to respect whatever Four Verts play Coach Spavital draws up. That should leave the run game available for Brock Sturges, Calvin Hill and Jahmyl Jeter to eat.
- Play aggressive defense against the pass. The Bobcats can penetrate the backfield but for some reason Texas State defenders are instructed to cover their receivers far too loosely. Texas State doesn’t give up mind boggling numbers in the passing game, but when the other team desires to open up the playbook, the Bobcats tend to give receivers the ability to catch and run for five to ten yards a pop. They can’t do that against the Cougars.
These are BYU quarterback Zach Wilson’s passing stats during the first five games of 2020. If the Bobcats don’t step up Wilson will do his best Ty Detmer impression and have a field day.
- Texas State has to play mistake-free ball. That means they must curb the penalties, commit no turnovers, and for Zeus’ sake, miss no kicks.
BYU Keys To Victory
- Don’t look back. The Cougars have played lights out all season and Wilson has been a key contributor on offense. Defensively, the Cougars haven’t faced a line that has completely shut them down in the trenches and Texas State’s line can be compromised easily.
- Zero Turnovers. Give a ‘Cat a fish and they’ll eat for a day. Give a ‘Cat a turnover and they’ll upset you in front of the BYU faithful. The Cougars don’t turn the ball over much and they don’t take the ball away often either. They can’t afford to lose that battle.
- BYU must not deviate from their game plan. They can’t play down to their opponents. Much like a cat that plays with its prey, BYU can’t get too cocky or reckless. The mouse they are playing with may turn into Splinter, and we saw what he did to the Shredder in the first Ninja Turtles movie.
Texas State don’t have much of a chance to beat BYU. But I didn’t say it was impossible. In a 2020 where Coastal Carolina is ranked and Louisville and LSU have losing records, anything is possible.
I will say that Texas State will cover the spread so if you are a betting man, “Brigham” all in on Texas State and you won’t lose. That’s the only certified prediction I’ll give for this game.
If you miss the Pac-12 late games and want to fill your 12-hour football Saturday, this game will be for you.