WKU vs. BYU Football Prediction and Preview

Cougars look for their third victory against a Conference USA foe this season when they host the Hilltoppers on Halloween night

BYU has a chance to match its best start since 2001 when the Cougars host WKU on Halloween night.

 

Few opponents have posed a serious challenge to BYU so far this season. The No. 11 Cougars (6-0) have averaged 45.0 points and 547.3 yards per game while winning each game by an average margin of 31.0 points. Texas State hung with BYU for a quarter before fading fast in a 52-14 loss. The Cougars swarmed the Bobcats on both sides of the ball to break open a close game in the second quarter.

 

WKU (2-4, 1-2 Conference USA) edged FCS member Chattanooga 13-10 after scoring the go-ahead touchdown with 1:21 remaining. The Hilltoppers narrowly avoided an upset when a 103-yard kickoff return touchdown for the Mocs on the ensuing play was called back on a controversial call. WKU has struggled to get on track this season while dealing with an anemic offense and generated just 254 total yards against the Mocs.

 

This is the first meeting between the schools. BYU has already played two Conference USA teams this season, beating Louisiana Tech 45-14 and UTSA 27-20 earlier in October.

 

WKU at No. 11 BYU

 

Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 31st at 10:15 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Spread: BYU – 29

 

When WKU Has the Ball

Generating offense has been a continuing struggle for the Hilltoppers and will be music to the ears of BYU's defense. WKU is averaging a scant 17.7 points and 277.2 yards per contest. The Hilltoppers have scored 14 points or less in three straight games.

 

Tyrell Pigrome has not been much of a threat in the passing game during that stretch. Pigrome has not thrown for 200 yards in a game this season. The senior was benched after throwing for 61 yards on 12 of 21 passing against Marshall. Pigrome got a second chance when Kevaris Thomas exited in the third quarter against Chattanooga with an injury. He responded with 73 yards on 4-of-8 passing and threw the game-winning TD as the fourth quarter wound down.

 

Pigrome has doubled as WKU's top runner, which isn't great news considering he has tallied only 227 yards in five games while averaging 3.9 yards per carry. Gaej Walker had his best game of the season against Chattanooga, gaining 88 yards on 17 carries. Walker had seven 100-yard games last season, so he is due to turn a corner sooner rather than later and regain the dominant form he showed during his junior season.

 

When BYU Has the Ball

The quarterback factory in Provo is up and running as it did at the peak of LaVell Edwards' tenure. Zach Wilson continues to impress with his weekly efficiency and consistency. Wilson has thrown four touchdown passes in back-to-back games – a career-first – and ranks among the top five FBS quarterbacks in completion percentage (78.3 percent), total passing yards (1,928), and touchdown passes (16).

 

Dax Milne has become even more important as Wilson's top target while Gunner Romney recovers from a hamstring injury. Milne is on pace for a 1,000-yard season. The former walk-on has racked up 639 receiving yards and five touchdowns through BYU's first six games. He ranks fourth nationally in total receiving yards.

 

Tyler Allgeier continues to impress in his breakout season at running back. Allgeier is averaging 82 rushing yards per game and 6.6 yards per carry to provide BYU's offense with some valuable balance. He's done well enough to hold onto the starting job even with last year's leading rusher Sione Finau finally back in action after recovering from a torn ACL. Finau played for the first time this season against Texas State, gaining 21 yards on five carries.

 

Final Analysis

 

BYU's first serious test will not come until next week when the Cougars visit No. 25 Boise State. The only possible way WKU can pose a serious upset threat is if BYU gets caught looking ahead to the Broncos. The Hilltoppers are no match offensively for the Cougars. BYU should be able to salt a certain victory away by halftime like so many other times this season.

 

Prediction: BYU 42, WKU 10

 

— Written by John Coon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Coon has more than a decade of experience covering sports for different publications and outlets, including The Associated Press, Salt Lake Tribune, ESPN, Deseret News, MaxPreps, Yahoo! Sports, and many others. Follow him on Twitter @johncoonsports.

Event Sport: 
College Football
Event Date: 
Saturday, October 31, 2020 - 22:15
Event Location: 
LaVell Edwards Stadium, 1700 N Canyon Rd, Provo, UT 84604
Away Team: 
Home Team: 
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