Game Prediction: #21 Utah Utes at BYU Cougars

Irish Breakdown makes predictions for the Holy War between Utah and BYU
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One of the best weekend matchups is the Holy War battle between No. 21 ranked Utah Utes and the BYU Cougars. Expect this to be a physical game, and there are also in-state bragging rights on the line.

Irish Breakdown makes predictions for the matchup.

BRYAN DRISKELL, PUBLISHER

Prediction: Utah 27, BYU 16

BYU earned a quality season-opening win over Arizona but the Cougars aren't going to stay unbeaten against Pac 12 teams. Utah didn't exactly set the world on fire in a 40-17 win over Weber State, but the Utes are going to look better in week two. Quarterback Charlie Brewer is going to play better than he did in the opener and he has good weapons to throw to.

One thing I am certain about in this game is it will be a physical contest, and that's ultimately where the game will be decided. Utah will run it better, but more important I expect the Ute defense to shut down a BYU offense that struggled for much of its matchup against Arizona.

VINCE DEDARIO, FOOTBALL ANALYST

Prediction: Utah 35, BYU 17

What is BYU? Their best player is now taking shots as the NY Jets QB1 and his replacement with BYU, Jaren Hall, will have to be better than he was in week one against Weber State. The Cougars made easy work of Weber State but the whole team will have to better against Utah, especially in the trenches. Utah has a massive advantage on both lines and will use that advantage to wear down the Cougars. There is a reason Utah has won nine of the last ten meetings between these two rivals. BYU challenges early but Utah outlasts them and goes on to win big. Take Utah and the seven points Vegas is offering.

ANDREW McDONOUGH, IB CONTRIBUTOR

Prediction: Utah 27, BYU 21

The Holy War between BYU and Utah gets little attention nationally but is one of the most bitter rivalry games in college football. The rivalry returns this year after a Covid-caused hiatus, and Utah will look to extend its winning streak over BYU to 10 games, which is impressive given how closely matched the teams have been over the last decade.

Last week, BYU knocked off Arizona 24-16 despite being outgained 426-368, giving up 345 passing yards, losing the first down battle 27-18, and only going 4-12 on third down. The Cougars defense was able to hold Arizona to only 2.3 YPC and only 6 points in 4 trips to the red zone. However, the Utes, led by Baylor transfer Charlie Brewer at QB, will present a much different challenge than a rebuilding Arizona Wildcats team.

The matchup that will decide this game, though, is between the Utah defense and BYU offense. Though new BYU QB Jaren Hall played a solid game against Arizona with 198 yards and 2 TDs, he only averaged 7.1 yards per attempt. That lack of explosiveness in the BYU offense plays into the hands of a strong Ute defense which limited opponents to 5.5 yards per play in 2020 and returns 8 starters, led by a strong defensive line. This game will be tight the entire way, but in the end, Utah is a better team and will pull this out. 

SHAUN DAVIS, ESPN CHICAGO

Prediction: Utah 28, BYU 20

Utah has dominated the series in recent history, winning the last 9 meetings. The Utes return a lot of production on both sides of the ball, while BYU tries to duplicate the success of 2020 with a host of new faces. The one area that BYU can hang its hat on is the offensive line, and they will have to impact the game from the first snap to give the Cougars a shot at home. Charlie Brewer and the Utes want to run the ball and counter with big plays via play-action. The advantage will be up front on Saturday, and that edge will go the way of the Pac-12 contenders.

RYAN ROBERTS, RISENDRAFT

Prediction: Utah 24, BYU 20

BYU came off a fantastic season in 2020. It's back to reality this week. Utah is a talented team who has a chip on their shoulder with a haphazard 2020 season. Expect tight ends Dalton Kincaid and Brant Kuithe to be big factors in this one. BYU scores a touchdown late to get back into it. 

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