Here is everything you need to know ahead of the matchup between the Iowa State Cyclones and the BYU Cougars.
Saturday, November 11; 9:15 p.m. CT; LaVell Edwards Stadium; Provo, UT
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network (John Walters, Eric Heft, Ryan Harklau); BYU Radio (Greg Wrubell, Hans Olsen, Mitchell Juergens)
Records: Iowa State 5-4 (4-2 Big 12); BYU 5-4 (2-4 Big 12)
Rankings: Iowa State (NR); BYU (NR)
Series History: Iowa State leads, 4-0-0
Last Meeting: Iowa State 34, BYU 7 (1974)
Line: Iowa State (-6.5)
Fun Fact: These two programs will be meeting for the first time in nearly 50 years and this will be the first matchup between each other as members of the Big 12 Conference.
The Offensive Line
I could talk about some of the playmakers such as Jaylin Noel, Benjamin Brahmer, Jayden Higgins or even Rocco Becht, but I wanted to shine the spotlight on the offensive line. Prior to their game against Kansas, this offense had rushed for over 150 yards in three out of their last four games. However, that changed last weekend as they struggled to run the football for more than 75 yards. Against a subpar BYU defense, I want to see if these guys up front can create some holes for their running backs.
DB Jeremiah Cooper
It was pretty obvious to see just how badly this defense missed Cooper last week against Kansas. The secondary got torched a few times deep and struggled to get stops in key situations. Jeremiah is the Big 12 leader in interceptions and Iowa State needs him back as soon as possible to make some plays for them. As of now, we still are not sure of his status for Saturday after sitting out last week.
QB Kedon Slovis/Jake Retzlaff
Due to an injury, Kedon Slovis sat out the West Virginia game. In his place, Jake Retzlaff got the start and did a decent job despite getting blown out. Now with Slovis potentially coming back, who will get the start for BYU on Saturday? Kedon hasn’t exactly been lighting the stat sheet up as he has a 57.5% completion rate for 1,716 yards and 12 touchdowns, in addition to six interceptions. No matter who ends up taking snaps, they need to see more from the quarterback position.
LB Max Tooley
Tooley leads the Cougars with 67 tackles on the year and has also added a sack one past breakup and one interception. He has played a big role on this BYU defense and will need to continue his dominance on the field in this one.
Can Iowa State get back on track? Against Kansas, Iowa State certainly didn’t have their best game. They scored just three points in the first half, and it took them almost three full quarters before the offense started to figure things out. Meanwhile, the defense gave up way too many big plays which is something we aren’t used to seeing. Provo is a tough place to play, and it will be important for the Cyclones to set the tone early, especially on the ground. BYU has the third-worst run defense in the Big 12.
Much like their opponent, which BYU team are we going to see? The Cougars have looked like a completely different team on the road compared to when they are at home. BYU has averaged 26 points at home compared to just 17.8 points on the road. With this being a night game in Provo, I hope they can play better than they have been lately.
Prediction: Iowa State 27, BYU 24
I just don’t trust this BYU team enough to get the job done. I know they are a different team at home but give me the Cyclones. Iowa State had a rough game against Kansas, and I expect them to play a little bit more loosely compared to the high-stakes game a week ago. Plus, I am not sure about BYU’s quarterback situation.