COUGAR TRACKS

Toledo Game Is Tone-Setter For Remainder Of BYU’s Season

Sep 27, 2019, 4:20 PM | Updated: 4:23 pm
Photo: Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey...
Photo: Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

SALT LAKE CITY – Saturday’s game between BYU and Toledo is a big one for the Cougars. Not necessarily because of the opponent, but the opportunity that is in front of the Cougars to set the tone for the remainder of the 2019 season.

The Toledo game sets the tone for the remainder of BYU’s 2019 season. Win and BYU will come away with renewed confidence just one week after a drubbing at the feet of Washington. Lose, and questions will start to creep in as to whether or not BYU goes bowling in a critical fourth year under head coach Kalani Sitake.

This is a big game for BYU. Now let’s let roll out some big predictions for the game.

Three predictions

1. Zach Wilson carries the BYU offense with 300-plus passing yards

Sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson had a solid performance last week against Washington, despite his wide receivers committing a handful of drops in the defeat against the Huskies. BYU was the only team through the first four weeks of the college football season to face three ranked teams. Because of that, Wilson has seen some talented defenses in the first month of the season, that nothing should throw him off of his preparation going forward. Look for Wilson and the BYU wide receivers to have a nice bounce-back performance Saturday against the Rockets.

2. BYU wins the turnover margin and doesn’t cough up the football

Both teams are going to put up some points in this game. The winner of this one will need to win the turnover margin. In BYU’s two victories they didn’t cough up the football to the opposition. That has to be the blueprint for BYU against any opponent they face. Look for BYU cornerback Dayan Ghanwoloku to

3. Emmanuel Esukpa will emerge as BYU’s feature running back

The loss of starting running back Ty’Son Williams for the remainder of the season is a tough blow to the BYU offense. But the Cougars have depth at running back and they’ll now turn to Rice graduate transfer Emmanuel Esukpa. Esukpa has 18 carries for 80 yards so far through the season. Last week, Esukpa had a season-high nine carries for 49 yards. Look for that number of carries to potentially double on Saturday against the Rockets.

Score Prediction

BYU 47, Toledo 38

The last time these two teams met in 2016, BYU was coming off of a four-game stretch against Power Five opponents and the Cougars entered that game only averaging 20.7 points per game. BYU then popped off for 55 points in a win over the Rockets that season.

Right now, BYU’s offensive numbers are underwhelming as the Cougars are 104th nationally in points per game with 22.5. But that will change against Toledo who is 119th nationally in total defense. Look for a lot of points and a BYU win over a tough Toledo squad.

BYU and Toledo kicks off at 10 a.m. (MDT) and will be televised on ESPN+ and heard on KSL Newsradio. Check out more info on how to watch and listen to all games in the state of Utah for Week 5.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Toledo Game Is Tone-Setter For Remainder Of BYU’s Season