Utah State at BYU, 8:00 p.m. ET (ESPN): Remember that time BYU quarterback Max Hall set every pair of hands in the state wringing for saying he hated Utah? Don’t expect anything half so uncouth to slip from the Cougars’ camp today, but also don’t think for a second they’re not out to exact some painfully polite revenge. You might recall that last year’s BYU-USU game directly resulted in getting defensive coordinator Jaime Hill fired in early October, the day after the Cougars lost a 31-16 game in Logan. The loss snapped a 10-game winning streak in the rivalry for BYU.
This year’s Aggies squad is one of uncertain mettle. After turning heads from coast-to-coast with a nail-biting loss to the defending national champions in Week 1, Utah State gave FCS opponent Weber State a proper trouncing in Week 2, then took a bye week before falling to Colorado State by one point in overtime, 35-34. The Cougars, for their part, split their first two games against Ole Miss and Texas by a combined margin of two points before getting throttled by the hated Utes and knocking off would-be BCS buster UCF by a touchdown last Friday.
Look for some turf-churning runs out of the Aggies, who are averaging 315 ground yards per game, and who will be running against a defense that barely cracks the 50th percentile nationally against rushing attacks. And though their ground game currently ranks 116th nationally, expect the Cougars to lean on the run some as well, if only to take the pressure off sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps and see what results they can wring from the tandem of Bryan Kariya and J.J. Di Luigi.