COUGAR TRACKS

BYU vs. Iowa State: Game Day Preview Plus Score Prediction

Nov 11, 2023, 9:59 AM

BYU vs Iowa State, Jake Retzlaff, Score Prediction...

Quarterback Jake Retzlaff leads BYU vs Iowa State. It's an important game to secure bowl eligibility. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU vs Iowa State is a matchup that hasn’t occurred in nearly five decades. The last time these two programs squared off was in 1974 in Ames.

BYU has never defeated Iowa State as the Cyclones lead the all-time series 4-0.

Tonight’s matchup is the first as Big 12 foes. Both teams have 5-4 records and need one more victory to secure a bowl bid.

BYU vs Iowa State

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium

Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. (MT)

TV: ESPN

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) — Extended pregame begins at 6 p.m.

It’s time for the 3-2-1 game preview for BYU’s week 11 matchup against the Iowa State Cyclones.

Three Game Day Thoughts

1. Big opportunity for Jake Retzlaff

What an opportunity for BYU quarterback Jake Retzlaff to cement himself as the quarterback of the future. Retzlaff showed well last week despite BYU only putting up seven points in a blowout loss at West Virginia.

It will be interesting to see how often Aaron Roderick calls designed runs for Retzlaff. Last year, with bowl eligibility on the line, Roderick turned to Jaren Hall often on the ground.

However, priority number one for Retzlaff needs to be taking care of the ball again. Last week, one of the positives to his performance was that he didn’t put the ball on the turf and he didn’t throw any interceptions. The stage didn’t seem too big for the former JUCO star.

2. Iowa State has the best secondary BYU will face this season

Iowa State is second nationally this season with 13 interceptions. That’s a credit to their secondary, who is perhaps the best BYU will face this season. Jake Retzlaff will have his hands full trying to throw on this Iowa State defense.

Cornerback T.J. Tampa could become a first-round NFL draft pick; Myles Purchase is another standout. There are questions about the availability of free safety Jeremiah Cooper, but if he’s in there, it’s a loaded secondary that BYU will have to get creative and find ways to attack.

3. Tonight feels like a potential “rock fight”

Am I crazy for thinking BYU’s defense responds tonight? Maybe. But BYU’s defense has performed well in home games. They’ve only given up 57 points in four games this year played inside LaVell Edwards Stadium.

It’s a different unit compared to the one that has consistently struggled on the road.

Iowa State has a good offense led by redshirt freshman quarterback Rocco Becht. The Cyclones rushing attack has a 27% stuff rate this season. That’s the percentage of runs that have been stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage.

BYU’s interior defensive line with John Nelson and Caden Haws expected to be out, but this game has the potential to be a rock fight. Just a tough physical game that might be first to 20 gets the victory. Iowa State plays these types of games often. Can BYU win that type of game? We might need to find out tonight.

Two BYU vs Iowa State Questions

1. Which BYU player delivers a star performance tonight?

BYU is an underdog coming into tonight’s game. When you’re an underdog, you need an unexpected or breakout performance. A player to keep an eye on is wide receiver Jojo Phillips. He earned his first game action last week at West Virginia.

The true freshman from Sierra Canyon High School is a deep-threat receiver that Retzlaff has formed chemistry with this season. He could be a player that delivers an unexpected big performance. That’s what you need to get an upset win.

2. How will BYU’s offensive line respond after a week of being put on notice?

The BYU offensive line has been put on blast this week. Head coach Kalani Sitake said they whiffed last week at West Virginia and he doubled down on their poor play at his Monday press conference.

The key will be having Paul Maile available. If he’s not available, BYU needs to turn to quick passes and designed QB runs to mask the deficiencies of the offensive line.

But they’ve been put on notice. Let’s see how they respond and if they show the physicality that they used to be known for in the past.

One Score Prediction for BYU vs Iowa State

Call me crazy, but BYU wins this game. The atmosphere in Provo has been off the charts this season and I expect nothing less tonight against Iowa State. BYU’s defense has stepped up at home and Jay Hill will have this group dialed in to take on Iowa State.

BYU wins a low-scoring game to secure bowl eligibility.

BYU 20, Iowa State 17

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.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU vs. Iowa State: Game Day Preview Plus Score Prediction