The Cougar ground game has been somewhat consistent here of late, with both Bryan Kariya and Joshua Quezada taking more of role in running the football. J.J. Di Luigi is coming off of a subpar outing against TCU, but should be able to show well against a suspect Wyoming defense.
The Cowboys will operate out of a base 4-3 defensive scheme that is relatively aggressive in how they play and how they scheme. Two of their three leading tacklers on the season are their two starting safeties, which is indicative of the 242.1 yards per game they give up as a unit on the ground.
The Cowboys have faced some very good running offenses to start the season, which have contributed to the very high number yielded on the ground. Nevertheless, BYU should be able to get theirs with an offense that has been put under the gun this past week to improve their collective performance.
Fans can expect the Cougar offense to run out of the I-formation more in this game to the tune of more than 150 yards, while approaching 200 yards. The coaching staff will likely use even more of what was successful against San Diego State.
BYU passing attack vs. Wyoming
It's no secret that the Cougar passing game is ailing like we've never seen since LaVell Edwards became head coach way back when. The wide receivers and the tight ends are all but nonexistent, as is the intermediate and long passing game.
The Cowboys have given up a respectable 223 yards per game through the air. That number is more likely a product of teams being so successful on the ground rather than indicating a good or even average pass defense.
It's a defense that likes to blitz and confuse a quarterback. They'll take chances and will work hard to force turnovers, which they were successful with against Utah last week.
Don't look for Robert Anae to open up the offense deep in this game, although he'll certainly allow for more chances downfield than he has the past two weeks. A productive running game should really open up things for Heaps and his crew.
Fans can expect a far more productive output through the air as a result. BYU offenses haven't struggled with anything Wyoming has presented to them since 2005, and the Cowboys could be exactly what the doctor ordered for both the running game and the passing game to get on track.
Wyoming will look to confuse Heaps with their rushes and coverage in hoping for some turnovers. They did this with relative success against Jordan Wynn and the Utes last week. For this reason and others, it's reasonable to believe that Anae will open up a bit more, but will maintain a very conservative approach with his play-calling. BYU rush defense vs. Wyoming
Lost in last week's blowout was a very good effort by the Cougar front seven or eight in defending the TCU ground game. Andrew Rich is playing much more like a linebacker than a safety these days in what has become a base 3-5-3 defensive alignment for the most part. He's done well in taking a lot of responsibility off of an inside linebacker crew that had been struggling to start the season.
Wyoming's rushing attack is simply anemic in averaging just 68.9 yards per game on an astonishing 2.1 yards per carry. I can't recall seeing numbers this awful for any team I've previewed before.
Their leading rusher is Alvester Alexander (5-11, 208 So.), who averages 45 yards per game with an average of 2.9 yards per carry. Their biggest threat on the ground could very well prove to be their quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels, who will run it often out of the pocket.
BYU is well-versed in how to handle a running quarterback, having seen many of them with varying degrees of success so far this season. Carta-Samuels is a threat, but the Cougars have seen better and should do well in limiting his effectiveness outside of the pocket.
It's easy to like what the Cougars have done in defending the run against the likes of TCU and San Diego State. They shouldn't have any trouble come Saturday in holding the Cowboys below their average on the year.
BYU pass defense vs. Wyoming
The Cougar pass defense has been solid on the edges, although there have been several gaffes in coverage up the middle that have led to big gains. A lot of that should get better with the return of Steven Thomas to the free safety position, although Wyoming will take their chances downfield to be certain.
You'd think Wyoming would be much better throwing the football than running it when looking at their running stats, but you'd be wrong. The Cowboys throw for a meager 163.3 yards per game in their base spread offensive system.
It's a system that likes to use quick-hitters to the outside, but we like BYU here in defending such an attack with capable corners and outside linebacker play that has really started to improve. Look for Wyoming to attempt a load of passes, as their ground game should be stalemated by the Cougar front throughout the game.
Overall, this doesn't look to be a very potent Wyoming team on either side of the football. Yes, they showed some signs of life last week against a very good Utah team, but they still lost 30-6.
If the Cougar offense had much of an identity coming in, it would be easy to predict a similar result. I do think that the offense will show some signs of life here going forward, as they're slated to play four very bad defenses starting with this game against Wyoming.
Final score prediction: BYU 23, Wyoming 10