BYU Cougars (4-9) at Arizona Wildcats (7-6)
|Date & Time||Saturday September 1, 2018, 10:45 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Arizona Wildcats -11.5 -- Over/Under: 62.5
The BYU Cougars will travel to Arizona Stadium to take on the Arizona Wildcats this upcoming Saturday night in College Football action.
The BYU Cougars will try to bounce back this season after a disappointing 2017 season which saw the Cougars finish the season with a 4-9 overall record. BYU played a tough schedule to start their season which led to a 7-game losing streak however, played better down the stretch winning 3 of their last 5 games. Offensively, BYU will need to try and find some answers if they are going to have success this season as the Cougars averaged just 17.1 ppg on 325.2 total yards per game (130.5 rushing yds/g; 194.6 passing yds/g). Leading the way for the BYU offense will be QB Tanner Mangum who completed 57.2% of his passes with 8 TD & 9 INT while averaging 192.5 passing yds/g. The top targets for the Mangum and the Cougars will be TE Matt Bushman (3.8 rec/g; 40.0 yds/g; 3 TD), WR Aleva Hifo (2.8 rec/g; 33.6 yds/g; 2 TD), WR Micah Simon (2.1 rec/g; 29.7 yds/g; 3 TD), and WR Jonah Trinnaman (1.8 rec/g; 23.5 yds/g). Leading the way for the Cougars backfield will be Squally Canada who had 6 TD’s last season while averaging 64.6 rushing yds/g. Defensively, BYU held their opponents to an average of 24.7 ppg on 372.8 total yards per game (147.6 rushing yds/g; 225.2 passing yds/g). BYU will be returning 6 starters and will be led by Sione Takitaki.
The Arizona Wildcats had an up and down season last year as they started off strong in conference play, going 4-1 over their first five Pac-12 games however, struggled down the stretch as they lost 4 of their last 5 games, including a 38-35 loss to Purdue in the Foster Farms Bowl, to finish their season with a 7-6 record (5-4 Pac-12). Offensively, Arizona was outstanding last season as the Wildcats averaged 41.3 ppg on 498.5 total yards per game (309.3 rushing yds/g; 180.2 passing yds/g). Leading the way for the Arizona offense will be QB Khalil Tate who exploded on the seen last season as a runner as he rushed for 12 TD’s while averaging 128.3 rushing yds/g on 13.9 att/g. Tate also has a decent arm as he completed 62.0% of his passes for 14 TD & 9 INT while averaging 144.6 passing yds/g. The Wildcats will have a lot of experience at the receiver position in WR Tony Ellison (2.8 rec/g; 46.0 yds/g; 5 TD), WR Shun Brown (3.3 rec/g; 44.1 yds/g; 6 TD) and TE Bryce Wolma (2.2 rec/g; 18.5 yds/g; 2 TD). In the backfield with Tate, will be J.J. Taylor who had 5 TD’s while averaging 65.2 rushing yds/g. Defensively, Arizona allowed their opponents to average 34.4 ppg on 471.2 total yards per game (185.1 rushing yds/g; 286.1 passing yds/g). The Wildcats will be returning 9 starters on their defense and will be led by the LB duo of Kylan Wilborn and Colin Schooler.
The Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall however, are just 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games on grass. The Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games however, just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
BYU will be looking to bounce back this season and to do so, they need to hope that their experienced players on the offense end can find ways to more points up on the board. There is a lot optimism for this Wildcats team as not only did they hire Kevin Smlin in the offseason, they have one of the most exciting players in College Football in Khalil Tate. The line in his game has already shifted by 3.5 points as the line for Arizona has dropped to -11.5 points and as I think Arizona’s experienced defense will be better than what we’ve seen over the past few years, I think Tate and the Wildcats offense will do enough to cover this spread at home.