by Johnny Teixeira | After an absolutely dominant 51-17 victory against Boise State two weeks ago, BYU is coming off their bye to play the (0-3) North Alabama Lions. The Cougars’ last win against the Broncos in Boise was exactly what they needed. This is not only important for further playoff consideration, but for Zach Wilson to further his Heisman trophy campaign. BYU was rolling two weeks ago against the then ranked No. 21 Boise State Broncos with Wilson completing 21 of 27 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns. Adding insult to injury, Tyler Allgeier ran for 123 yards and punched the ball into the endzone twice.
If the Cougars can put up this level of production against Boise State, one of the better and most respected of the Group of Five schools, I do not see anything in the North Alabama Lions that would be able do to stifle one of the most exciting offenses in College Football. Vegas agrees with me, placing BYU as 47.5 point favorites with an over/under of 58.5 points. After tomorrow’s matchup against the Lions, BYU currently does not have another game scheduled until December 12th when San Diego State comes into town. This poses a problem for BYU considering the College Football Playoff Committee and their recency bias. In order for this season’s performance to resonate with playoff and Heisman voters, the Cougars need to win each and every game with astounding certainty.
Although I do not see the North Alabama Lions posing a threat to the Cougars, no game is guaranteed. Especially with the potential to play in a high-caliber bowl game and a Heisman trophy on the line, BYU cannot slouch and get complacent ahead of a “should-win” matchup. The Cougars have been playing an exciting and fast-paced style of offense this whole year. This allows Wilson to have complete control of the field. I do not see this aggressive style of play changing anytime soon. Expect the Cougars to come out firing on all cylinders against the Lions. They looking to get off to an early lead to set the stage for the rest of the afternoon.
If, for some odd reason, the pass game is not there early, BYU should not be afraid to give the rock to their backs. Coming off an amazing 123-yard performance, Allgeier will most certainly see production against a Lion’s defense that has allowed an average of 217 yards per game on the ground. I expect the Cougars to score early and often against a Lions’ team that has allowed an average of 25 points per game to far worse opponents. Although BYU’s defense has been a little lackluster this season, I do not see North Alabama posing a higher threat through the air than that of BYU’s first eight opponents.
Today’s matchup against the North Alabama Lions may not be the most glamorous game, or the most exciting game to watch, but this is an absolute must-win game for the Cougars. At this point, BYU is eyeing every prize they can get their hands on: a New Year’s Six Bowl Game, a Heisman trophy for Zach Wilson, and gained respect for an excellent BYU football program.
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