Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#349 Washington -6.5 vs.
#350 BYU 48.5
Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 3:30pm EDT
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#349 University of Washington
#350 Brigham Young University
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When and where: September 21, 2019, LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UT, 3:30 PM ET

The No. 22-ranked Washington Huskies go on the road for the first time in the season on Saturday for a much-anticipated showdown with the BYU Cougars. After falling to California, the Huskies bounced back with a 52-20 win over Hawaii in Week 3. They’ll be in for a dangerous test against BYU, who knocked off Tennessee and USC in back-to-back weeks.

Washington gets back on track

A colossal letdown of a performance against California had the Huskies trying to make sense of their offensive shortcomings. They were held to only 348 yards of total offense in the 20-19 loss. Junior quarterback Jacob Eason was pretty much a non-factor, throwing for 162 yards and one interception. Instead, the team was forced to lean heavily on running back Salvon Ahmed, who ran for 119 yards and one touchdown with 21 carries.

Eason did bounce back against Hawaii with 262 passing yards and three touchdowns.

The hope for the Cougars is this isn’t the season-long formula because it would really hurt their ability to strike an offensive balance. Saturday’s game against BYU offers a great opportunity for Eason to step up and make the tough throws against a talented secondary. BYU has been solid against the pass this season with opponents averaging 187.7 yards per game through the air.

Yet, I would still expect Ahmed and the rushing attack to be the primary focus in this game with the struggles upfront for the Cougars, who are giving away an average of 225.0 yards per game on the ground.

As for the high altitude in Provo, head coach Chris Petersen isn’t really worried.

“That has nothing to do with nothing,” Petersen said, “except that the kickers might kick the ball a little further. That’s one thing I think that could happen.

“We’ve been at altitude many times. We’ve been at Wyoming … a bunch of times, I have. The only time I’ve ever seen it at 7,200 feet affect our team is when we had a 17-play drive once. And that’s it. That was the only time I knew they were tired coming off, but both teams were tired after a 17-play drive.”

Cougars in position to make a statement

Most laughed when the Cougars went on the road and defeated Tennessee, but there wasn’t so much as a chuckle when they knocked off USC last week at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Imagine if they do the same thing to the Huskies on Saturday.

The Cougars could make a real statement and climb back into the top-25 rankings by defeating USC and Washington in back-to-back weeks. Another upset win would call for a herculean effort from their defensive front to stop allowing opposing teams to gash them on the ground. The last thing BYU needs is Ahmed feasting on yards and Eason getting comfortable in the pocket.

Teams have been able to move the ball against the Cougars’ defense fairly easily, and they’ll once again be tested by a Huskies offense averaging 456.0 total yards per game. Cougars sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson hasn’t shown the best of accuracy, but he also isn’t shying away from clutch moments, which seem to come on a weekly basis. They’ll need another one of those moments on Saturday to beat the Huskies.

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Ahmed better come into Saturday’s game with an empty stomach because he’s going to get fed an all-you-can-eat buffet of carries. BYU hasn’t shown the ability to hold up strong against a viable rushing attack, and Washington is a team that isn’t afraid of sticking with whatever works on offense. They won’t go out of their way to put the game in Eason’s hands if it isn’t necessary.

In the first three games of the season, the Huskies are averaging 192.0 rushing yards per game. That’s a scary number for the Cougars, considering the bleeding they’re capable of doing up front. More importantly, if Ahmed can keep the chains moving on the ground, it would simultaneously open up the passing attack.

So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Eason take some shots down the field at some point. This game comes down to me trusting Washington’s defense more than I trust BYU’s. The magic carpet ride was bound to end at some point.

Give me the Huskies and the points.

Prediction: Washington Huskies (-6.5)

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The Huskies shut the Cougars down in a 35-7 route when these two teams met a year ago. Wilson and company will run into similar issues on Saturday when faced with a defense only allowing an average of 18 points per game. I don’t see Wilson stepping up and making the plays he will be called on to make when the offense stalls, particularly in third-and-long situations. Defense will rule the day for the Huskies. I’m taking the under betting total here.

Prediction: Under (52.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.