BYU vs. Wyoming: The Breakdown

The G-man breaks down Saturday's matchup between BYU and the Wyoming Cowboys, which will take place within the hostile environs of Laramie, Wyoming. More so than with most teams, Wyoming gets an edge by playing at home that they don't enjoy on the road, and the Cowboys hope it's enough to push them over the top against BYU.

Wyoming at Quarterback

Wyoming will start sophomore Karsten Sween at quarterback. Sween is a classic drop-back passer who has decent mobility in and around the pocket. This season can be defined as somewhat mediocre for the Poke signal-caller, as he's thrown for just 1,607 yards during his first 10 games. That is an average of 160.7 yards per game.

Sween has a 59.9 percent completion rate to go along with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions on the year. He has really struggled as of late, and has gone seven consecutive games without throwing for over 200 yards. In two of his last three games (Utah and UNLV), Sween hasn't even managed 100 yards passing.

Wyoming at Running Back

Devin Moore and Wynel Seldon usually share the running back duties in the Cowboy backfield, but Moore, who is a bit more speedy than Seldon, will not play against BYU because of an injury. Though Seldon is not as fast as Moore, he can run over a defense with his 220-pound frame.

Seldon was the primary running back early on the season until giving way to Moore. Wyoming's running attack struggled mightily against Utah last week, so the Cowboys will hope to rebound with a good game against BYU. Moore and Seldon have been used occasionally in the passing game, as Moore has 23 catches on the year and Seldon has 17 catches. However, with Moore out, that will mean that Seldon with have to pick up the slack and get more touches.

Wyoming at Receiver

The Cowboys start three wide receivers in their base one-back set - which often shifts to a formation which can include a tight end or H-back - throughout the course of the game. Senior Michael Ford is the leading receiver for Wyoming and has played in each of his four years at Wyoming. He has 39 catches on the year for 460 yards and three touchdowns. He'll be joined by Hoost Marsh and Greg Bolling, who have 25 and 29 catches on the year respectively.

Wade Betschart is the team's primary H-back and will be used in underneath patterns often. Betschart, who could pretty much be considered as a classic tight end, has 26 grabs on the season for just 225 yards. None of Wyoming's receivers average a large amount of yards per catch, as Wyoming utilizes a quick-hitting, short passing attack.

Wyoming's Offensive Line

Wyoming's offensive line is a very young group that starts three sophomores, a freshman and a junior. Most of the Cowboy offensive woes have come due to this group's ineffectiveness in pass-blocking and getting a good push upfield.

BYU versus Wyoming's run attack

On paper, BYU should dominate this matchup and hold Wyoming to well-under 100 yards rushing. It should be noted that for whatever reason, Wyoming has been far more effective running the ball at home than they have on the road. The Cowboys average almost two more yards per carry at home than they do on the road.

Key Matchup

It will be BYU's inside linebackers versus the middle of the Poke OL and the RBs. Seldon is an inside guy and will try and keep it between the tackles. If Kelly Poppinga can build on his great game last week, the Cougars should have little trouble stopping the Wyoming running attack.

BYU versus Wyoming's passing attack

As mentioned, Wyoming has struggled a lot getting yards through the air. This week's matchup could help kick-start their game, which depends on quick-hitting short passes in a wide-open offensive set. The Cougar defense has been very conservative, allowing yards to be thrown underneath the coverage all while being very stingy with the intermediate and long passing game.

Key Matchup

The key matchup should prove to be Cougar right end Jan Jorgensen versus Cowboy left tackle Ryan Otterson (6-5, 286 So.). Jorgensen dominated the play along the line last week, and against a weaker left tackle, he could wreak some serious havoc.

If BYU is able to mount a consistent and effective pass rush headed by Jorgensen, then Wyoming shouldn't be able to do much offensively. If BYU can't get a good pass rush and continue to rush just their down linemen, then Sween and his offensive cohorts could find some renewed success.

Wyoming's Defensive Line

The Cowboys rotate a four-man and three-man front throughout the course of a game. The primary DLs on the line will be all sophomores. John Fletcher is the leading defensive lineman on the team and the Cowboy's top sack threat. Fletcher has eight sacks on the year, and the Cougars will have to account for him on just about every passing play.

Wyoming's Linebackers

Ward Dobbs leads the Cowboys at linebacker and is the team's leading tackler on the year. Dobbs is one of the Cowboys' inside linebackers who moves to the outside when Wyoming goes with a four-man defensive front.

The Cowboy linebackers have been an effective unit, teaming with the defensive front to give up only 118 yards rushing per game so far this year. Collectively they've also been able to account for 29 sacks on the year for an average of almost three sacks per game.

Wyoming's Secondary

The Cowboys are led in the secondary by cornerback Julius Stinson, who has five interceptions and five-and-a-half tackles for a loss. As a unit, the Wyoming defense gives up a respectable 190 passing yards per game and has been effective against most opponents.

BYU vs. Wyoming's run defense

Wyoming has mounted an effective run defense throughout the year, despite giving up 278 yards on the ground a week ago against Utah. Wyoming is tough up the middle and most of the yards they gave up to Utah a week ago were around the edge on a bevy of gadget plays the Utes threw at them.

Meanwhile, the Cougar running attack has been effective in most games this season. Harvey Unga is most effective up the middle, but can certainly bounce it outside if the need arises. Unga versus the Wyoming rush defense should be a great matchup.

Key Matchup

It will be Fletcher, who is Wyoming's top defensive lineman, against BYU's right tackle tandem of David Oswald and R.J. Willing. If Willing and Oswald can handle Fletcher, then they should be fine in helping to mount an effective ground game. BYU's RT against Fletcher will also be a key in the Cougars' effectiveness through the air.

BYU vs. Wyoming's pass defense

The Cougars have put together two consecutive impressive outings through the air, first against Colorado State and then TCU. The Cowboys present a pass defense that relies heavily on zone coverage with alternating cover-two and cover-three pass defense schemes. Cougar quarterback Max Hall was effective against TCU's man-coverage a week ago, but will have to adjust to a defense that plays zone.

Key Matchup

It will be Austin Collie against Stinson, who is the Cowboy's top cover guy. Look for Stinson to shade Collie throughout the game in an effort to give the productive Cougar wideout little or nothing deep.

Final Score Prediction: BYU 27, Wyoming 13


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