Early Analysis: Boise State at BYU

Boise State (5-2) at BYU (5-2)
Friday, 8:00 PM, ESPN
Line: BYU -7

This is not one of Boise State’s best teams in recent memory, but at 5-2 the Broncos are still a tough game. It’s hard to imagine we’ll get a repeat of last year’s 7-6 win by Boise.

BYU is ranked 14th nationally in total offense with 503 yards per game, while Boise State is 18th with 494.4 yards a game. So the score of this one could be a bit higher.

Boise holds a 3-0 advantage over BYU and the timing of the game may be perfect to make that 4-0 as the Cougars are coming off a grueling four-plus hour game with Houston.

For Boise State to win: The Broncos need to put the pressure on the BYU defense by running the ball. If Boise can garner some confidence on offense then watch out.

For BYU to win: The defense has to play much better than it did a week ago when it allowed 46 points. In fairness to this unit, 16 of those points came on special teams or by offensive mistakes.

Key Player, Boise State: QB Grant Hedrick hasn’t played a complete game since he graduated from high school, but is forced into action against BYU. Senior Joe Southwick, who is 15-4 as a starter, is out after fracturing his right ankle against Nevada. Hedrick is actually more versatile than Southwick and could pose some serious concerns for a tired BYU defense.

Key Player, BYU: WR Cody Hoffman had seven receptions in a 47-46 victory over Houston, making him the career leader in receptions for the Cougars. His ability to make plays, especially down the field, will play a key factor in beating Boise.

Key Stat: 100. This game will mark coach Chris Petersen’s 100th game as head coach of Boise State. He’s an impressive 89-10 and is the winningest active coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision.