You can only spend so much time breaking down the game before you start getting bored with all the statistics that make up each team's offense and defense. So instead of just another entry on what Utah must do to beat BYU (and what they must do to beat Utah), I've decided to just go ahead and throw out my predictions for Saturday.
Like I said in the past, this will be a low scoring game, or at least low compared to the past three Holy Wars. I believe this favors Utah, which is why I think they'll win. With that said, this is how I see that victory happening.
Firstly, Utah will do considerably well on Unga, though he will have some big receptions on the day. I do think BYU will open its offense up by utilizing the tight end. If there is a weakness in Utah's defense, it's that they struggle defending tight ends. But with Utah controlling the running game and containing the downfield threat, the Cougar offense won't work nearly as well as some expect. Honestly, I think their offensive production will be much like it was against TCU, however, Utah's offense isn't nearly as inept as the Frogs. That will be the big difference in this game.
On offense, Utah will rely on the running game, but don't expect Mack to bulldoze through their line for 100 or more yards. That's ok, though, because I believe Utah will still have a decent amount of yards on the ground. Expect Brian Johnson to run, because BYU does not defend mobile quarterbacks very well. I think that will open up the Utes' downfield passing attack, which should easily exploit the BYU secondary.
Special teams will also play a role in this game, as BYU does not do well at punting the ball. Look for Utah to start with decent yardage on most drives and even if they fail to convert, it should push the Cougars back deeper into their own end zone and make it far more difficult to move down field. Field position could be key in this game, especially if Utah creates a few turnovers and then capitalizes on them.
Even though I think Utah will win, it'll be a close contest. Neither team is going to blow open the game and that will make for some tense football. I'm going to say Utah wins, 28-17. However, that score will only be that large because the Utes will add a game sealing touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Let's hear your predictions. Post 'em below and hopefully those that pick Utah are right on the money.