BYU Cougars (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Utah Utes (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday, September 10, 7:30PM EST (4:30PM PST)
Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, UT.
by Wilson, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BYU +3.5/Utah -3.5
Over/Under Total: 45.5
The Holy War takes place this weekend when the BYU Cougars head 50 miles up Interstate 15 to Salt Lake City and take on the Utah Utes. The last time these two teams played was ironically, a post season Holy War in Sin City—The Utes beat the Cougars in the Las Vegas Bowl last December 35-28. In fact, the Utes are currently on a five game winning streak against BYU. The rivalry dates all the way back to 1896 when Utah won 12-4 in Salt Lake. Utah leads the series 58-34-4. This weekend will be the 97th meeting between the two schools. Both teams won their openers but it was BYU who played the stronger opening opponent in Arizona (BYU won 18-16) while Utah beat up on S0-UT 24-0.
QB Taysom Hill leads the BYU Cougar offense. The 6’2 230-pound Hill is a senior who would like nothing more than to win the Holy War before he graduates. BYU just sneaked by the Arizona Wildcats in week one to open their season. A late field goal gave the Cougars a road win which they hope they can do again at Utah this weekend. BYU’s offense can be effective as they racked up plenty of yards throughout the game and did not turn the ball over. If the Cougars can remain consistent with their offensive schemes they will be in this game all the way to the finish. The challenge will be how they handle the stellar defense of the Utah Utes.
The Utes defense pitched a shutout in their opening game by not allowing SO-UT to score. However, BYU is a much more difficult opponent and they will likely find some kinks in the armor of Utah’s D. The Utes QB Troy Williams can cause fits for the BYU defense as well—Williams passed for 272 yards and two touchdowns versus Southern Utah and they will look to him again to throw a lot against the Cougars. The Utes are 1-4 ATS in their last five games in September. Meanwhile, BYU is 4-1 ATS in their last five games in September.
Inside the numbers of this matchup Utah leads in all categories except for three (BYU has advantage in red zone, kicking, penalties). The Utes have the advantage in points per game, yards gained, yards allowed, and time of possession. Head to Head, the Cougars are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings. The Underdog is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings. The Cougars are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 meetings in Utah. With all the numbers involved perhaps the difference in this contest will be the running game of Jamaal Williams for the Cougars—Williams rushed for 162 yards on 29 carries against Arizona and he is a senior as well looking to get a Holy War under his belt. This has all the makings of yet another great football game early in the season. If senior QB Hill can be a little more productive with the passing game for the Cougars, then it will make Jamaal Williams even more of a threat with the run. I don’t know if BYU can stop the Utes offense but I think this game will be a thriller like so many of the Holy Wars before—it will likely come down to another last minute effort by whomever has the pigskin. In my opinion BYU is more prepared after facing a tough Arizona team while the Utes had a laugher in SO-UT. I like BYU to cover the points and they just might sneak away with a win too!
I like the Cougars to cover this line and possibly win—Utah is tough at home but it is the Holy War, so blood will spill and the road team covers.
Wilson's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The BYU Cougars cover. Luck to ya.
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