Game Preview: Brigham Young Cougars vs. Wyoming Cowboys

The Brigham Young Cougars come into their game against the Wyoming Cowboys sitting at 2-5. If you are a doctor, what do you prescribe for such a team? How about easing your workload and getting a little home cooking? Fortunately, for the Cougars, that’s exactly what is in store. The first seven opponents have a combined 33-13 record. The next four are just 5-22, none of them have a better record than BYU, and they are the bottom four teams in the MWC right now. What makes it even better is that three of these four games are at home, where BYU is 2-1 this year and 24-3 since 2006.

No team has taken a bigger beating from BYU in the Bronco Mendenhall era than Wyoming. BYU has outscored Wyoming 221-38, which comes out to an average score of 44-8 in each game. In Provo, it is even worse, 99-7 in two meetings, and Wyoming was lucky to even get the 7. With the way Bronco has the defense playing, points will probably be a precious commodity once again for Wyoming. In fact, Wyoming has only averaged 11.6 points per game this year, ranking them 119th in the nation.

BYU may need the defense to keep Wyoming scoreless. The Cougars have had their own problems this year with putting points on the board. BYU averages only three more points per game than Wyoming, 14.7 (115th). Earlier this week, Coach Mendenhall said BYU would adopt a run first mentality on offense, which tends to lower the final score by shortening games.

Wyoming doesn’t figure to just lay down in this game. After a surprising bowl win to end 2009, this year was supposed to be even better. Quarterback Austin Carta-Samuels was no longer a freshman and the team was in its second year under Dave Christensen. At this time last year, Wyoming was 4-3 and averaging 27 points per game, despite being shutout twice. Wyoming also didn’t play TCU or Utah in the first seven games last year like they did this year. Maybe if Colorado State and UNLV were not at the end of the schedule this year, Wyoming would be 4-3 again and average closer to 20 points per game. Either way, one thing is certain. Wyoming will give BYU its best game.

Things to watch for:
  1. Another shutout? BYU has shutout Wyoming the last two years. Will they do it again? Whether they admit it or not, I would bet that the BYU defense is harboring hopes of shutting out Wyoming again. After the disappointment last week against TCU, nothing would feel better than registering a third consecutive shutout of Wyoming.
  2. How much run? As stated already, BYU will have a run first mindset on offense. How exactly does that translate into number of runs versus number of throws? Are we looking at another San Diego State mix (62 rushes, 22 passes)? The scoring drive against TCU referenced by Bronco was 8 passes and 5 rushes.
  3. Independent Impact. Wyoming was one of the more vocal schools criticizing BYU after BYU announced it would leave the MWC next year. Are emotions still running high in Laramie over this decision, and will they have any bearing on the game?
  4. Bowl hopes. At 2-5, BYU needs four wins in the next five games to secure bowl eligibility. Losing this game will make it infinitely more difficult. Really, BYU needs to win the next four games, so bowl eligibility isn’t even an issue when they play Utah.
  5. More new records? The last two weeks have seen three new BYU records set. Will anymore records fall this week? Jake Heaps is still too far away from the record for most passing yards by a freshman. Could Kyle Van Noy set a freshman record for tackles or sacks in a game? Maybe, with the run first mentality, a rushing record will be broken.
All-time Series: BYU leads 43-30-3
Last: BYU, 52-0
Streak: BYU won last 6

TV: The Mtn.
RADIO: KSL 1160 AM, 102.7 FM,

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Thursday Trivia: Rushing TDs In One Quarter
Flashback: Jim McMahon's Magical Season (1980)
Poll Results: Will BYU go to a bowl game this year?
Game Recap: TCU Horned Frogs 31, Brigham Young Cougars 3