San Diego State Aztecs vs. BYU Cougars - 11/30/19 NCAA Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

San Diego State Aztecs vs. BYU Cougars - 11/30/19 NCAA Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction Photo by

BYU Cougars at San Diego State Aztecs

Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at 12:48 AM (SDCCU Stadium)

Pick; Total 39.5

TV: CBSSN

A fascinating matchup will take place on Saturday when the BYU Cougars (7-4) will travel to SDCCU Stadium to take on the San Diego State Aztecs (8-3). Both teams are headed to a bowl game and both will be looking for some momentum heading into the bowl season.

San Diego State might have some disappointment heading into this game after dropping two of its last three games killing the Aztecs’ hopes of winning a Mountain West Conference title. Last week’s 14-11 loss to Hawaii put the Rainbow Warriors into a tie with San Diego State but the head-to-head tiebreaker obviously went to Hawaii. It will be interesting to see whether that disappointment will carry over into this non-conference game that really means nothing to either team.

The Aztecs do it with defense. They are ranked sixth in FBS in scoring defense allowing just 13.7 points per game this season, only trailing teams like Ohio State, Clemson, and Georgia in that category. The problem is that San Diego State doesn’t score very much. The Aztecs rank 118th out of 130 FBS teams scoring just 19.5 points per game. In fact, the most points scored in a San Diego State game by either opponent was 31 in a win against a New Mexico State team that is 129th out of 130 FBS teams in scoring defense. No other team has scored more than 27 in an Aztec game and either SDSU or its opponent were held below 20 points 14 times. 

Things became even more low scoring over the previous three weeks of the season in a 17-13 loss to Nevada, a 17-7 win over Fresno State, and the 14-11 loss to Hawaii. In that Hawaii loss, the defense did a great job holding the high-powered Rainbow Warrior offense to just a pair of touchdowns, but the Aztecs could do little offensively against a Hawaii team that allows teams to score regularly. Senior quarterback Ryan Agnew completed 25-of-39 passes for 229 yards, but that averages to just 5.9 yards per completion. Sophomore Kobe Smith led the 11 Aztec receivers who caught a pass with six receptions for 74 yards, while junior Chase Jasmin carried the ball seven times for 37 yards.

Agnew is the only Aztec to attempt a pass this season, completing at a 63.5 percent rate for 2,175 yards and 11 touchdowns. A total of 15 receivers have caught at least one pass this year, and Smith leads all of them with 54 receptions for 654 yards and four touchdowns, while senior Juwan Washington leads the Aztecs running the ball, carrying 140 times for 474 yards for only 3.4 yards per carry. 

Despite an early-season win over USC, BYU has been on fire over the past month-and-a-half, going 5-0 in that time with wins over No. 14 Boise State and Utah State to highlight the streak. The Cougars are always tough in Provo, but they have done it at home and on the road in that streak, winning three times at home and twice on the road. 

While it has been quarterback Zach Wilson who has taken the team on his back throughout the season, it was the ground attack from Jackson McChesney that completely dominated UMass in last week’s 56-24 win. The freshman carried the ball just 15 times for 228 yards and two touchdowns to lead an offensive display of 628 yards. Wilson was also brilliant, completing 17-of-20 passes for 293 yards and four touchdowns to overwhelm the Minutemen.

Wilson has been outstanding all year despite missing four games due to injury. The sophomore has completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 1,792 yards and 11 touchdowns against just five interceptions. McChesney has only carried the ball 10 other times than the 15 he had against UMass, but that performance moved him to third on the team in rushing, which is led by Sione Finau who is averaging 6.1 yards per carry for 359 yards on the ground total this year. Matt Bushman and Micah Simon have caught passes for 538 and 514 yards per game respectively.

This is a pick ‘em game, and it is one that isn’t set up for a lot of offense. San Diego State has shown that it can’t score against anyone and is averaging just 13.7 points per game in its last three games against the 93rd, 98th, and 101st ranked scoring defenses in the country. BYU doesn't have an elite defense, but it is ranked 54th in FBS, which is significantly better than what the Aztecs have seen in the last three weeks and shut their offense down.

On the other hand, BYU is averaging 39.8 points per game in its current five-game win streak, but even Boise State’s defense, which BYU only scored 28 points against, is ranked 30th in scoring defense and by far the best the Cougars saw over the past five games. But San Diego State’s defense is a touchdown better and the sixth-best scoring defense in the country. 

Even though the total sits at just 39.5, the under has to be the play. It has to. If there is not enough proof that the under is the play yet, consider this: All but one of San Diego State’s 11 games have gone under which is the best mark in college football, and when it goes under, it stays under the total by 11.1 points per game. There just is no scoring in Aztec football games. The total is low, but take the under and look for San Diego State’s lockdown defense to do its job.

Kevin’s Pick Under 39.5

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.