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BYU vs Iowa State Preview, Prediction


Photo by Author McCord Mecham
'Kedon Slovis' Photo Credit: McCord Mecham

Game Info:

Saturday, November 11; 8:15 pm MST; LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UT


TV: ESPN


Radio: BYU Radio (Greg Wrubell, Hans Olsen, Mitchell Juergens); Cyclone Radio Network (John Walters, Eric Heft, Ryan Harklau)


Records: BYU 5-4 (2-4); ISU 5-4 (4-2)


Last Week: BYU 7, WVU 37; ISU 21, Kansas 28


Rankings: Both Unranked


Series History: ISU leads 4-0


Last Meeting: ISU 34, BYU 7 (1974)


Line: ISU (-7)



Preview:

Bowl eligibility is what is at stake for both teams heading into Saturday. Both teams were sitting at 5-4 on the season, but both teams took drastically different paths to get there. BYU started hot, winning their first 3 games, including a win over SEC foe Arkansas before starting conference play. Once conference play started, so did BYU's struggles. BYU's offensive struggles and shown through in an eleven-point loss to Kansas before righting the ship, somewhat, to beat Cincinnati at home for theirs and any of the four newcomer's first BIG 12 conference win. Diluted slightly by the fact that it came against a fellow newbie. BYU then went on the road to TCU and lost big, 44-11 before coming home for another conference win against Texas Tech. BYU is now on a 2 game losing streak after playing and getting blown out at both Texas and West Virginia.


Iowa State on the other hand started the season off by going 1-2 in their non-conference games, including a 10-7 loss to MAC opponent, the Ohio Bobcats. ISU then corrected course and has done well since then, winning four conference games including a win over Oklahoma State that is looking better and better each week. Their only conference losses came against ranked Oklahoma and Kansas.


Both teams desperately want to get the bowl eligibility monkey off their backs. This game seems to be both team's best shot at getting to a bowl game this season. BYU has Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to finish the season and ISU has Texas and Kansas State to wrap up.


A lot of teams say that the biggest game on their schedule is just whatever the next game is but that has never been more true than this week for these two teams. BYU has a lot of issues to figure out this week leading to Saturday. Injuries of multiple starters including their starting QB Kedon Slovis, an opaque offensive line who seemed scared to touch any WVU defenders last game, as well as a defense that seems tired of playing their butts off and having the offense not doing their part.



Key Players - BYU

Offensive Line: I realize this is an entire position group and not one player but they have never been more "key" than they are right now for BYU. There were many, and I mean MANY missed blocks last week at West Virginia. So much so that it makes you wonder what is going on in the locker room and if the linemen had some personal vendetta against Retzlaff. They will need some serious improvement if they want any chance of winning this game. It starts with just quite simply blocking the guy in front of you. There were times that WVU didn't even have to stunt or cross and BYU would still let them go untouched. Coach Funk better have been playing the Blind Side and Remember The Titans all week in the locker room to get these guys' minds right to protect their QB.



CB Jakob Robinson: Last week ISU relied heavily on Rocco Becht, who threw 26 times for 20 completions for 216 yards and one interception. Jackob Robinson has four interceptions on the year so far and opposing teams are taking notice and are trying to avoid his side of the field. ISU has some weapons at WR but has two main targets, Jayden Higgins and Jaylin Noel. This duo has accounted for 78 receptions for just over 1000 yards so far this season. That is almost 50% of ISU's total passing production. If Robinson can lock down these guys when they are on his side of the field as well as get a takeaway or two, then that will help BYU's bowl chances tremendously.


Key Players - ISU

RB Eli Sanders: Last week, BYU gave up more than 300 yards on the ground at WVU. From what I saw during the game, I don't think WVU was doing anything special besides lining up and playing smash mouth, run it down your throat, football. If BYU can shut down the passing game at all then ISU has a good backup plan with Eli Sanders and their running game.


DB TJ Tampa: Tampa is one of the best DBs in the BIG 12 and is most likely going to be playing on Sundays next season. This guy can cause some havoc in the secondary, especially if BYU can't give whoever is playing QB this week much time in the pocket. Watch for TJ to be all over the field breaking up passes and possibly getting a takeaway or two.



Prediction:

Sadly I don't have much confidence in the O-line whatsoever after last week for BYU. There is a lot more going on there than what they can fix in one week and I hope I'm wrong but if they still have quite a few starters out this week then I don't see the outcome being much different than the last two weeks.


BYU 13, ISU 28


Please be wrong...


Go Cougs!


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