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BYU & Nelson Pull Off Miracle Over Utah St

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 1, 2011


Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Utah State at BYU


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 5 - Utah State at BYU

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Sept. 30 at BYU 27 … Utah State 24
CFN Analysis: BYU comes up with another interesting fourth quarter win, and considering the problems on offense, no matter how it happens, the team just needs to be happy coming up with wins. Now the big question is the quarterback situation with franchise prospect Jake Heaps not leading the attack to enough points and enough good drives, while Riley Nelson was terrific pulling off the shocker. Heaps completed 11-of-25 passes and didn’t get anything going down the field, while Nelson pulled off two miracles with the 40-yard prayer of a heave to get the offense close, and with the tipped touchdown pass to Marcus Matthews for the win. With San Jose State, Oregon State, and Idaho State up next before dealing with TCU, and with home games against Idaho and New Mexico State ahead, 8-3 has to be expected before going to Hawaii.

Again? Utah State should be 4-0, but it simply can’t close. Up 11 in the fourth quarter and with BYU pinned on the four, and then down to the one after a sack, the defense collapsed for a third time in four games. As frustrating and as painful as this all might be, the Aggies have to try to remember that it might not take too much to truly turn a corner and be terrific. Eventually, the running game will control the fourth quarter to close things out, and eventually, the defense will come up with a meaningful stop in the final seconds. This is still a young team overall and the schedule isn’t all that bad. There’s still time to turn things around, Robert Turbin is running like a superstar, Chuckie Keeton was decent at spreading the ball around, and Utah State was close. Utah State has to be tired of being close.

(AP) PROVO, Utah -- Marcus Matthews caught a deflected pass from backup quarterback Riley Nelson in the end zone with 11 seconds to play to cap a 96-yard drive that gave BYU a 27-24 victory over Utah State on Friday night.

Pinned by a 67-yard punt by Tyler Bennett on their own 4-yard line with 2:26 to play, Nelson, who replaced ineffective starter Jake Heaps in the third quarter, led the Cougars (3-2) on an improbable drive that gave them their 21st win over their in-state rival in their last 23 meetings.

Utah State (1-3) again lost a late lead as it did against Auburn and Colorado State. The Aggies took a 21-13 lead on its opening possession of the second half when Robert Turbin caught a screen pass from freshman quarterback Chuckie Keaton and rumbled 24 yards for his second touchdown.

Utah State (1-2) at BYU (2-2) Sept. 30, 8:00, ESPN/ESPN3

Here’s The Deal … BYU will lose to Utah once in a while, but getting blown away 54-10 is a whole other level of bad for a proud program trying to turn things around after an ugly 2010. Just when it seemed like the Cougars were dying, they came up with a great fourth quarter to get by a good UCF team to potentially turn the season around.

This is when BYU has to go on a run. Last year’s lousy season turned around when the schedule eased up, and that’s what the Cougars get over the next month with San Jose State, at Oregon State, and Idaho State up next after this week. A win over the Aggies could help spark a great run before going to TCU, but beating Utah State isn’t a given.

The Aggies came up with a shocker last year beating the Cougars 31-16 for the first win in the series since 1993, and now they have the offense and the ability to pull off a big, season-changing win. For all the good things Utah State has done with its offense, the record is still 1-2 with collapses late against Auburn and Colorado State. Now it’s time to actually pull off a big win just to show that it can.

Why Utah State Might Win: The Aggies have an offense and BYU doesn’t.

The Cougar attack is a mess, needing big plays from the defense and special teams to get by UCF, and there hasn’t been any indication that things are going to turn around any time soon. Nothing is working with the ground game failing to go anywhere and the passing game among the nation’s most inefficient. Utah State is good at getting into shootouts, and BYU doesn’t appear to be equipped to keep up the pace.

The Cougar defense has been fine up front, but nothing special. There haven’t been any sacks – cranking out just four in the first four games - and the big plays behind the line have been few and far between. To get to the Aggie spread attack, you have to be able to stop it before it starts, and BYU doesn’t have the defense to do that.

Why BYU Might Win: To be fair to BYU’s rough start and the awful numbers, there hasn’t been a cream-puff in the bunch. Ole Miss might stink, but the defense is playing well, while Texas, Utah, and UCF are all going to be in the mix for their respective conference titles. There’s a chance that BYU’s offense might not be that good, but it’s about to blow up once it starts to deal with mediocre defenses. Utah State has a mediocre defense.

The Aggies are getting into the backfield and they’ve been great against the run – BYU’s ground game won’t go anywhere – but the secondary will give up yards in chunks and has to prove it can come through with a meaningful stop in the final few minutes of a game. BYU and quarterback Jake Heaps should be able to dink and dunk a little bit and should be able to take advantage of Utah State’s aggressiveness with screens and delays.

Turnovers have been a problem for Utah State with six fumbles in the last two games. It would’ve beaten Colorado State had the offense not kept screwing things up, and while BYU isn’t air tight with the ball and hasn’t come up with enough takeaways, it should be able to win the turnover battle.

What To Watch Out For: Can the BYU linebackers handle the Utah State running game? Top linebacker Jordan Pendleton was out for the win over UCF with an ankle injury, and while others picked up the slack, he’s needed for an offense that’s working so well. UCF was held to 81 yards on the ground but threw for 318 yards, and if Pendleton can’t come back, it’ll be up to Kyle Van Noy, who made eight tackles with a sack and a broken up pass, to have another strong game.

Utah State’s Robert Turbin has been as good as new after missing all of last year with a knee injury, following up a 180-yard rushing day against Weber State with 115 yards and four touchdowns in the tough loss to Colorado State. He ripped off 1,296 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2009, but his worst game of the season came against the Cougars, being held to 47 yards on 17 carries. While he’s running well, he hasn’t done enough yet as a receiver catching just two passes for 12 yards after making 30 grabs for 418 yards and five scores two years ago.

What Will Happen: Can BYU do something right on offense? Utah State’s ground game has been phenomenal and the special teams have been dominant, but there’s something missing from a team that’s looked so strong over the first three games of the year. This isn’t a team that’s good in crunch time, and BYU, especially at home, should be able to find a way to do just enough with the passing game, and just enough on defense, and just enough in key moments at the right time to squeak by with a tough, ugly win.

CFN Prediction: BYU 30 … Utah State 27
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