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BYU-WSU Matchups and Prediction: BYU with questions still to answer

By Jared Lloyd - | Oct 22, 2021

BYU wide receiver Samson Nacua makes a touchdown catch during the 26-17 Cougar loss to Boise State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (Courtesy BYU Photo)

Here is Jared Lloyd’s look at the BYU-Washington State matchups, including his prediction for the final score for Saturday’s game at Martin Stadium in Pullman, Washington:

BYU offense vs. Washington State defense

BYU showed that its downfield passing game can be a force to be reckoned with if teams try to take away the run and short passes. Jaren Hall is learning in every game and Tyler Allgeier is set to break out again at some point. Look for both to have good games this week.

Edge: BYU

BYU defense vs. Washington State offense

Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo

BYU players come out of the tunnel and take the field before the 26-17 Cougar loss to Boise State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)

After facing a punishing ground game, now BYU will go up against a completely different approach as WSU will look to spread the field. Don’t be surprised if the home team still has some success on the ground but BYU has done a good job of limiting big pass plays this season. It won’t be easy to do in this one.

Edge: Washington State

Coaching

This might be the biggest unknown of the entire game, since WSU head coach Nick Rolovich and four members of his staff were terminated for failure to comply with the state’s vaccine mandate. How well WSU will be prepared with that turmoil is anyone’s guess. BYU head coach Kalani Sitake has his own issues to rectify as his team has yet to really put together a complete game.

Edge: BYU

BYU_PHOTO

BYU defenders prepare for the ball to be snapped during the 26-17 Cougar loss to Boise State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (Courtesy BYU Photo)

Intangibles

BYU has to play on the road, likely in uncomfortable weather conditions. WSU has the advantage of being at home but the off-field issues could have a major impact. Both teams will be looking to capitalize on miscues, something BYU did well at early in the season but struggled with recently.

Edge: Even

Key Matchup: BYU offensive line vs. the Washington State defensive line

While BYU has been OK in pass protection in the last couple of weeks, the line would admit that it hasn’t met its own standard in the run game. That needs to change this week against a WSU defensive line that has some question marks of its own. Whether the visitors can run effectively or the home team can limit success at the point of attack may decide the game, particularly if rain becomes a factor.

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake (left) watches his team compete during the 26-17 Cougar loss to Boise State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. (Courtesy BYU Photo)

Edge: BYU

Prediction

Washington State will come out determined to show that it can play great football no matter what is going on with the coaching staff and that will be enough for awhile — but not enough for the whole game. BYU will withstand the early energy from the home team but also take advantage of WSU mistakes to go in front and eventually get the victory in the battle of the teams with Cougar mascots (Cosmo will also be more impressive than his WSU counterpart, Butch T. Cougar).

BYU 32, Washington State 23

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