San Diego State will take on Brigham Young University on Saturday night in likely their toughest opponent of the season.
The Aztecs (4-3) ended their two-game skid last week in a 29-17 win against Colorado State. The 18th-ranked Cougars (9-1) took their first loss of the season in a 22-17 nail-biter against undefeated Coastal Carolina.
In the Aztecs’ win over Colorado State, they had both a kick and punt returned for a touchdown in less than two minutes. They also held the Rams to only 265 yards of total offense and 17 points, continuing their defensive dominance.
Jordon Brookshire started under center for the Aztecs, completing 14 of his 24 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. With Greg Bell only getting one carry, the offense ran for 117 yards on 48 carries for an underwhelming 2.4 yards per rush. Bell is questionable for Saturday and could be destined for a huge day should he play, as BYU just allowed 281 yards on the ground to Coastal Carolina.
The BYU defense has still been great all year, allowing only 14.7 points per game and 300.6 total yards per game (both of which rank top-ten nationally).
The defense is led by senior linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi, who leads the team in tackles (66) and is tied for the team lead with four sacks. He also has a team-leading three forced fumbles.
Their defense has allowed 192 pass yards per game on the season, and Coastal Carolina passed for only 85 yards last week. With Brookeshire starting at quarterback for the Aztecs, don’t expect SDSU to be airing the ball out against a solid pass defense as they will more often be looking to run the ball and keep Wilson off the field.
If the Aztecs can run the ball effectively and control the clock, Zach Wilson and the Cougar offense will be forced to stay on the sidelines.
The SDSU defense will be facing their toughest matchup of the year against the Cougars’ offense. Led by a potential 2021 first-round pick in Zach Wilson, BYU ranks seventh nationally in both points per game (44.5) and total yards per game (522.7).
The Aztec defense will have their hands full with Wilson, who has completed 73% of his passes this season for 2,964 yards, 27 touchdowns, and only three interceptions. He had his worst outing of the season against Coastal Carolina, where he completed 63% of his passes for 240 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Wilson, one of the best quarterbacks in the country, will be facing an elite Aztec defense that ranks top ten in the country in both points and yards allowed per game. They only allow 168.4 pass yards per game, and NFL scouts will be eager to see how Wilson will bounce back from a loss and how he will perform against a defense as strong as the Aztecs’.
The Cougars have a great running game as well, which averages just under 200 rush yards per game. Sophomore running back Tyler Allgeier leads the team with 957 rush yards and 12 touchdowns. Allgeier has run for at least one touchdown in all but one game this season and has rushed for 100+ yards in five of ten games, including each of the last three.
The Aztecs have a stout rush defense but may have trouble trying to contain Allgeier and getting at Wilson, who has only been sacked eight times in ten games. Wilson has run for eight touchdowns this season, showing that he can do damage with his legs.
The main target for Wilson this season has been junior wide receiver, Dax Milne. Milne has 55 catches for 1,018 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. He has 100+ yards in five of ten games and each of the last two. The Aztec secondary will need to be on him all game as Wilson will look towards him early and often.
Last season, San Diego State defeated BYU 13-3 in Carson Baker’s starting debut to end a six-game losing streak against the Cougars.
The Aztecs have only won twice in their 18 trips to Provo, Utah, with their wins coming in 1992 and 2000.
Saturday’s game is at 7 p.m. PT on ESPN2.