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Expect a low-scoring affair Friday night as two of the nation’s top defenses face off when BYU hosts Utah State, with the Cougars as opening favorites on Bovada.lv.
BYU enters off a dominant 47-0 shutout of Hawaii as the Cougars rushed for 396 yards. Freshman Taysom Hill started under center for the Cougars (3-2) and secured the first victory in BYU history for a true freshman and only the second by any freshman starting his first game. Hill finished the night completing 12 of 21 for 112 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Hill added another score on his feet and gained 143 yards rushing on 15 attempts, the most rushing yards by a BYU quarterback since 164 from Brandon Doman in 2001. Jamaal Williams tallied 155 yards on 15 attempts and two touchdowns. The last time BYU had two 100-yard rushers was Oct. 21, 2006 against UNLV when Curtis Brown and Mike Hague rushed for 148 yards and 123 yards, respectively.
BYU has allowed just four touchdown drives this season, two against Weber State (77 and 75 yards) and two against Utah (17 and 39 yards). The offenses for Washington State, Boise State and Hawaii never reached the end zone. The last time the Cougar “D” yielded any points was late in the third quarter at Utah — and that came on a 39-yard touchdown pass one play after a BYU turnover.
Utah State beat UNL 35-13 on Saturday. Chuckie Keeton threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns and Kerwynn Williams compiled 260 yards from scrimmage in the win. Keeton completed 20 of 33 passes and Williams ran for 113 yards on 20 carries and caught seven passes for 147 yards for the Aggies, who are 4-1 for the first time since 1978. Keeton was the first Utah State QB to pass for 400 yards since 2002.
Through five games, Utah State has outscored its opponents 51-0 in the first quarter and has allowed just one first-half touchdown — which was scored in its last game against the Rebels — as it holds an 85-16 scoring advantage in the first half this season.
In all, Utah State’s defense ranks second in the Western Athletic Conference and 11th in the nation in total defense (280.8 ypg). USU also leads the WAC and ranks 13th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (99.2), is first in the WAC and 15th in the nation in passing defense (174.4 ypg), ranks first in the WAC and 18th in the nation in scoring defense (14.2 ppg), is second in the WAC and 22nd in the nation in rushing defense (106.4 ypg), and is second in the WAC and 22nd in the nation in sacks per game (2.8).
Last year at home, BYU beat Utah State 27-24. Riley Nelson led BYU on a pair of fourth quarter scoring drives to rally his team from a 24-13 deficit and give the Cougars their 21st victory in the last 23 meetings against Utah State.
WagerWeb.com trends: Aggies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings. Under is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings. Home team is 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 meetings. Underdog is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.