Can BYU make a run all the way into the College Football Playoff?
That’s suddenly a feasible question for the No. 10 Cougars (5-0) heading into Saturday’s rivalry clash with Boise State in Provo, Utah. BYU has won seven straight games dating back to last season and 16 of its last 17 overall.
The Cougars aren’t just winning. They are staying in control of each game: BYU has yet to trail this season.
Yet, they contend they have only scratched the surface of what they can accomplish this season.
“We need to stay hungry and keep working,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “There’s still a lot more opportunities for us to shock people, and there’s still more for us to do. We’ve got to keep that edge.
“I love that these guys are willing to learn and trying to get better.”
Quarterback health will be a determining factor in how high the Cougars can climb this season. Jaren Hall started the first three games before missing two contests with a rib injury. Baylor Romney started against South Florida and Utah State, but he played one half against the Aggies before sitting out the second half with a concussion.
Jacob Conover, BYU’s third-string quarterback, finished out the game against Utah State, helping to secure the 34-20 victory.
“I have faith in any one of those quarterbacks,” BYU tight end Isaac Rex said. “Whichever one’s healthy, I know they’re gonna play great and we’ve got their backs. We’ll be ready to help them.”
As long as Tyler Allgeier remains healthy, the Cougars will present problems for opposing defenses. Allgeier rushed for a career-high 218 yards and three touchdowns against Utah State. He ranks eighth nationally with 564 rushing yards through five games.
Stopping Allgeier is one problem among many facing the Broncos (2-3), who are off to their worst start in two decades. Not since 2001 has Boise State carried a losing record five games into the season.
Boise State has lost back-to-back home games while struggling to contain the run. Nevada back Toa Taua ripped off 124 yards on the ground to help power the Wolf Pack to a 41-31 victory. Taua’s performance came on the heels of a 218-yard effort from Oklahoma State runner Jaylen Warren, who lifted the Cowboys to a 21-20 victory a week earlier.
Boise State is surrendering an average of 191.2 yards on the ground – 106th among 130 teams in major-college football, which has played a huge determining factor in the team’s slow start.
“We all know what the standard is here, and that’s not it,” first-year Boise State coach Andy Avalos said. “We’ve got to take a deep dive and examine what it is.”
The Broncos hold a 7-4 lead in the series with BYU. The Cougars have won the past two games, including a 51-17 victory last season for BYU’s first ever win in Boise.
–Field Level Media