Cougar football looks to rebound against Utah State

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Dani Jardine
Beau Hoge runs the ball against Wisconsin on Sept. 16, 2017. (Dani Jardine)

BYU’s bye week has come and gone and a trip to Utah State is on the slate for Friday, Sept. 29.

After another 1-3 start, the Cougars know their offense must improve in order to salvage the season.

“We have a lot of games left in the season so we need to find a way to win games,” said head coach Kalani Sitake after the loss to Wisconsin. “It is difficult to win games when you’re only getting 200 yards of production and not getting in the end zone.”

Last year, BYU found itself with the same record when Toledo came to Provo.

That 55-53 win became a catalyst for the Cougars’ season, and BYU won eight of its final nine games.

While the bye week gave players time to rest and recover, it did not help the Cougars’ statistics.

  • BYU currently ranks 129th out of 130 FBS teams with 222 total offensive yards per game. Only UTEP, with 210 yards per game, is worse.
  • The Cougars’ 77.5 rushing yards per game ranks 124th and 144.3 passing yards per game ranks 119th.
  • The Cougars are the only FBS team averaging less than 10 points per game (9.8) in the nation.

One thing to note: according to statistician Jeff Saragin, BYU has played the sixth-hardest schedule so far this season.

Regardless, the offense knows its execution has been subpar up to this point.

“We’re trying to fix it,” said tight end Matt Bushman. “There are glimpses of us doing great things and other times we’re not doing well at all. I think we just need to find the balance where we’re not trying to do too much and once we have the opportunity where we have the defense on their heels, to go out and make plays. It’s just a little bit of us not making the plays that need to be made. It’s just hard to get the momentum going when we’re not completely doing our job. We’re trying, but we just have to step it up.”

Quarterback Beau Hoge got the first start of his career against Wisconsin after Tanner Mangum was injured on the final play of the Utah game. Hoge was 11 of 20 for 111 yards passing with two interceptions. Though Mangum’s foot was in a boot and he was on a scooter during the loss to the Badgers, both he and Hoge are listed together on the depth chart that was released on Monday, Sept. 25, for the game against Utah State.

Against the Aggies, BYU leads the series 48-35-3.

Friday’s game will be the 87th meeting between the schools, and BYU has won six of the last seven games against the Aggies, including the last two meetings.

The single loss came in Logan in 2010. It’s also the last time BYU started a football season 1-4.

The following day, then-BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall fired defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jaime Hill.

Utah State is coming off of a 61-10 win against San Jose State.

Aggie quarterback Kent Myers had 181 passing yards and two touchdowns against SJSU.

Overall, Utah State had 589 yards of total offense against the Spartans.

BYU’s defense has allowed 405 yards of total offense per game, which is tied for 53rd nationally.

Friday’s kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.