BYU-West Virginia football matchups and prediction: Cougars looking for second road win at West Virginia
Here is Jared Lloyd’s look at the BYU-West Virginia matchups, including his prediction for the final score for Saturday’s game at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.V.:
BYU offense vs. West Virginia defense
The Cougars haven’t been able to get everyone clicking on this side of the ball in the last few weeks, resulting in a lot of punts and few points. BYU needs quarterback Kedon Slovis to get on track and more yards from Aidan Robbins and the run game wouldn’t hurt either. The Mountaineers allow 26.5 points per game, but they will be tough at home.
Edge: West Virginia
BYU defense vs. West Virginia offense
The Cougars have faced some elite running backs in the last few weeks and done a decent job slowing them down. The Mountaineers, however, have a scheme that could be more like what Kansas did to have success against BYU. It will be important for the Cougar linebackers and linemen to be in the right spots.
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake is still looking for that across-the-board excellent performance that has eluded the Cougars in 2023, but he also saw some positives in the loss at Texas. West Virginia head coach Neal Brown has his team exceeding expectations this fall, which is an indication of how good he is at his job.
The Cougars will be on the road where the Mountaineers are 3-1 on the season. Both teams are looking to get bowl eligible, so the stakes are a little higher. Weather forecasts indicate it shouldn’t be a huge factor. Mistakes like turnovers and untimely penalties will probably decide the outcome and the home team usually has the advantage there.
Edge: West Virginia
Key Matchup: BYU running back Aidan Robbins vs. the West Virginia linebackers
The Mountaineers average 33:44 minutes in time of possession per game, which demonstrates how well they keep drives alive. The Cougars have had times this year where they struggled to get off the field defensively, so they need help from the offense. If Robbins can find some gaps and get solid gains to open up the pass game, BYU will have a much better chance to get first downs and give the defense a rest.
In classic Big 12 fashion, this game will be fun to watch and come down to the final minutes. Look for West Virginia to churn out some long drives and put up points, but the Cougars will respond. With the outcome in the balance, the Mountaineers will force a critical turnover and that will give the home team the edge. BYU will have a shot in the final minutes but will come up just short.
West Virginia 27, BYU 22