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Three Storylines That Could Determine Winner Of BYU/UTSA Game

BYU football players celebrate a touchdown during the Cougars win against Louisiana Tech. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, UtahΒ – No. 15 BYU hosts UTSA Saturday afternoon in Provo. The game will be played in front of an empty LaVell Edwards Stadium but will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

#1 BYU/UTSA Key To Watch: Turnovers

UTSA is (+5) in turnover margin this season. If a five-touchdown underdog is going to hang around in a game, they will need to force turnovers. BYU has only had four takeaways this season but hasn’t coughed up the football since game one.

Roadrunner defensive backs Corey Mayfield and Rashad Wisdom each have two interceptions. BYU QB Zach Wilson leads the country in completion percentage at 84.5 percent through three games in 2020.

#2 Injury status of UTSA QB Frank Harris

If UTSA wants to stay competitive on Saturday with undefeated BYU, Roadrunner QB Frank Harris will need to play. Harris, who’s battling a knee injury, said that he is a game-time decision for the second consecutive week.

Harris is tied with Wilson for the most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback this season, with five scores on the ground. Last week, UTSA’s backup, Josh Adkins, suffered a season-ending collarbone injury. Lowell Narcisse, who played against UAB, is the other option for the Roadrunners if Harris isn’t able to play.

#3 Does BYU continue with the business approach?

Earlier in the season, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit commended BYU with how they weren’t fazed by the lack of fans in the stands against Navy. Said that BYU’s performance was business-like and reminded him of an NFL team. Will BYU continue with that same approach in a game where they are a five-touchdown favorite?

BYU has not been rattled by the bumps in the road that COVID-19 has caused this season. The Cougars have been laser-focused and it’s led to an explosive BYU offense that allows the defense to play loose and aggressive.

Speaking of BYU’s defense, defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki has found ways to get consistent pressure rushing only three linemen. The Cougars are fifth nationally this season with 12 sacks. Watch for true freshman Tyler Batty, who has four of those sacks; he’s emerging as a star edge rusher for BYU. If Batty, Zac Dawe, and star nose guard Khyiris Tonga get pressure early and often, it could be a long afternoon in picturesque Provo for the Roadrunners.

No. 15 BYU vs. UTSA

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. (MDT)

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium (Empty Stadium)

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 (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter:Β @Mitch_Harper.

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