SPORTS

Five Predictions For BYU-Utah State Rivalry Game

Nov 2, 2019, 1:42 AM | Updated: 1:48 am
Utah State Aggies wide receiver Alex Byers, left, and BYU defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku go head t...
Utah State Aggies wide receiver Alex Byers, left, and BYU defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku go head to head as USU and BYU play at Maverik Stadium in Logan on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

LOGAN, Utah – A lot is on the line between BYU and Utah State in the 2019 edition of the Battle For The Old Wagon Wheel.

Utah State has won the last two games between these two programs and last year’s game saw the Aggies blow out BYU on their home field.

What can we expect in this year’s game?

Here are my five predictions for tonight’s wagon wheel rivalry game.

#1 Jaren Hall will likely get the start at QB for BYU

My expectation for BYU’s quarterback debate this week is to culminate in redshirt freshman Jaren Hall getting the starting nod over Baylor Romney. The reason? Two things. Hall is a better runner than Romney and the investment BYU’s coaching staff has placed into Jaren Hall’s development with first-team reps in the spring and leading up to fall camp while Zach Wilson was out recovering from shoulder surgery.

Don’t be surprised though if at some point in the game we do see Baylor Romney get some playing time. But as far as the first quarterback out on the field to start the game, I’m expecting to see Hall.

#2 Low scoring game with an emphasis on ball security

The cold – but clear – weather is going to play a role in this game. I’m expecting both defenses to win the day for at least the first three quarters. Both teams know that the turnover margin will likely decide the outcome. So defenses will win the night for a majority of the game.

#3 David Woodward will have at least 15 tackles

Through seven games, Utah State’s All-American candidate linebacker David Woodward has 93 tackles already. The junior had 24 tackles in the Aggies season-opener against Wake Forest and had 16 tackles against No. 1 LSU. Look for Woodward to have at least 15 tackles in the rivalry game. He will be all over the field.

#4 The atmosphere will be electric

The BYU-Utah State rivalry has truly become a rivalry in the past few years. Ten years ago, BYU looked at this series as just another game. Now it’s an annual big game for both teams and I would expect the crowd at the Maverik Center will be a sellout and loud as can be.

BYU safety Dayan Ghanwoloku said he was expecting cowbells and that he saw something on Twitter that the Aggies were looking to protect their dairy farm. That stuff aside, the Aggies have won their last 10 home games and a large reason for that has been the energetic crowds they’ve had at Maverik Stadium.

#5 BYU wins a close one

This is a game that could easily produce a lot of different outcomes. But BYU’s win over Boise State was a confidence builder and with Jaren Hall at quarterback, the Cougars will have another big-play threat running the football. BYU finds a way to squeak out a 26-23 win over Utah State.

BYU (3-4) vs. Utah State (4-3)

Kickoff: 8 p.m. (MT)

TV: ESPN2

Radio: KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM/KSL Newsradio App

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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Five Predictions For BYU-Utah State Rivalry Game