BYU vs. UNLV: The Breakdown

The Cougars will be raring to go after their bye week as they look to finish the season strong. UNLV has struggled mightily coming in, which should translate to a comfortable win. Could this be the cure for what has ailed the Cougars so far this season? G-man breaks down the matchups and gives a preview of what fans should expect come Saturday.

Cougar Rushing attack vs. UNLV

The best part of the Cougar offense has been their rushing attack. They've been able to rotate their three top backs very effectively here of late and run them primarily out of the I-formation.

The Rebels rank 118th nationally in run defense, giving up a whopping 221 yards per game and 5.3 yards per rush. They'll operate out of a 4-3 base defense that has been extremely weak at the point of attack.


BYU should obviously romp over the Rebel front seven for more than 200 yards. Given the new emphasis on the run, fans can look for the Cougars to run the ball often and well.

Cougar passing attack vs. UNLV

The Cougars showed some signs of breaking out of their passing doldrums in their last game against Wyoming. The production was still meager overall, but a lot of it was a result of offensive coordinator Robert Anae again fastening the training wheels tightly around Jake Heaps and what he could potentially do.

The Rebels have proven far more effective at defending the pass, yielding a respectable 206 yards per game. This obviously may point to teams not having to air it out rather than a good and solid pass defense, however.


While the focus should again be on the run this week, one has to imagine that coaches will allow for more pass attempts down the field. McKay Jacobson will be active for the game and Luke Ashworth looks to be reborn after his game against Wyoming.

Overall, there isn't a lot to break down here, as the Cougars should be able to put up a lot of yards against a flat out bad UNLV defense. It was much the same going in against Wyoming, but with a bye week and increased reps and focus, fans should expect this offense to have a breakthrough performance.

Cougar rush defense vs. UNLV

The biggest difference with the Cougar defense since Jaime Hill left town is its effectiveness in stopping the run up the middle. Andrew Rich has been played much like a rover-type linebacker, allowing players like Brandon Ogletree and Shane Hunter to play downhill, which they're both very good at.

It's been a hallmark of Cougar defenses to be strong up the middle, and that has resurfaced here of late. Vic So'oto has really stepped up his game and Kyle Van Noy appears to be at least as good as his hype coming in as he's subbed for Jordan Pendleton at the Sam linebacker position.

The Rebel ground game has been slow going so far this season. They average a meager 106 yards per game on the ground with an average of 3 yards per carry, which is largely due to giving up 25 sacks so far.

Their top backs have rushed for good averages, however, with Tim Cornett (5-11, 205 Jr.) leading the way with his 4.7-yard average. Overall, they don't present a rushing attack that will scare anyone, but they do look to be significantly better than Wyoming in this facet.


It's easy to be high on BYU's rush defense these days, as they've pieced together three very impressive outings in a row. They did show some vulnerability on the edges against Wyoming that they'll work to clean up to the tune of allowing less than 100 yards on the ground this week.

BYU pass defense vs. UNLV

The Cougar pass defense has been much better this season than in most years. Opposing teams have had a hard time mounting a good and consistent passing attack against them, and that doesn't look to change this week against UNLV.

The Rebels are downright awful at throwing the football so far this season. They average a mere 165 yards per game through the air, and as mentioned, they have a penchant for giving up sacks.

Omar Clayton (6-1, 205 Sr.) has been a disappointment this year in both passing and running the football. He will take off on occasion, but is much more of a pocket passer than he has been.

Their most effective receiver has been Michael Johnson (5-8, 175 Jr.), who Brian Logan should be able to match up with extremely well.


Folks, there isn't a lot to say about this game. UNLV is bad and BYU should be able to do what they want on both sides of the football. After a bye week, this team should be able to show things they haven't been able to do so far this season, namely showing forth a good and consistent passing attack.

Final Score Prediction: BYU 31, UNLV 10

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