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Wyoming Cowboys vs. Utah State Aggies
Where and when: Maverik Stadium/Merlin Olson Field, Logan, Utah, Saturday, 4 pm EST
The Wyoming Cowboys travel to Merlin Olson Field in Logan, Utah, for a Saturday afternoon matchup with the Aggies of Utah State. The Cowboys not only seek to get back on track after a slim defeat last weekend, but will also look to win their second straight at Maverik Stadium after getting a five-point road win in 2017. PointsBet currently has the Aggies favored by 6.5 points while the total has been set at 50.5 points.
After beginning the season at 3-1, Utah State has stumbled a bit coming down the stretch in dropping three of their last five games. Furthermore, after allowing only twenty-three points in their first six contests of 2019, they have allowed a total of 108 in their last three. To make matters worse on the defensive end, the Aggies will take the field without a pivotal piece for their defense in David Woodward. In nine games this year, the junior recorded 93 total tackles (53 solo), 2 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, along with four forced fumbles along with a fumble recovery. Still, Utah State is allowing 440 yards total to opponents per contest.
Much of this was due to their willingness to allow opposing rushing attacks to shine as they allow over 180 yards per game. Wyoming has one of the strongest attacks in the country in putting up 226 yards per.
And while the Aggies are third-place in the Mountain West (Mountain division) at 4-1 in conference, the Cowboys are right behind them in fourth-place at 3-2, which means this will be an important matchup for both squads, particularly the Cowboys. Wyoming won two straight before falling to the top team in the Mountain division in the Broncos of Boise State last weekend in an overtime road thriller. Now, they must regroup and get a much-needed victory on the road (where they are 1-3 SU and 3-1 ATS) in order to remain relevant as the season closes.
With once starting QB Sean Chambers out for the season with a knee injury, sophomore Tyler Vander Waal has taken over quarterback duties for the team. Chambers was a pivotal piece for the Cowboys rushing attack in having 90 rushes for 567 yards (6.3 yards per rush) alongside ten touchdowns.
New QB looks to improve from last weekendVander Waal has started three games on the year, and the stats have not been very pretty. After two straight games in passing for a total of 84 yards and a touchdown (23% Completion percentage), the sophomore had his best outing of the year on the road versus Boise State in throwing for 160 yards while holding down a 65% completion rate. It is no surprise that the quarterback must be able to bring a bit more to the table for a bowl-bound Wyoming team seeking to end the season on a strong note.
The great news for Vander Waal and the offense is that defending the pass happens to be the Aggies' Achilles' heel. In fact, the unit is ranked 103rd in the nation while allowing just under 260 yards per game in the air. Also, as pointed out earlier, Wyoming backers can also feel good about their rushing attack, fueled by sophomore Xazavian Valladay (755 yards, 155 rushes, 6 TD’s), going up against a rush defense that gives up over 180 yards per game to opponents.
And while the Cowboys should be able to run the football in this contest, their defense needs to ensure that Jordan Love and a dangerous passing attack for Utah State are not beating them over the top. Much like the Aggies, Wyoming happens to be ranked 121st in defending the pass in giving up 278 yards per.
Love continues to make offense run for AggiesJunior QB Love has not only thrown for over 2400 yards this season along with 11 touchdowns, but has passed for 300+ yards in two straight games. It is also impressive that he has completed 62% of his passes; However, the QB has also thrown 12 picks on the year. In the Aggies slim, 2-point road victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs last weekend, the underclassmen had a much better command of the offense in throwing two touchdowns (no picks) while his completion percentage stood at 77% on the night. It will certainly help the team if these stats were to translate during their matchup with the Cowboys.
Utah State may not be able to depend on their rushing attack for this contest, particularly with the Cowboys ranking 10th in the nation in stopping the run with just 97 yards per. This means that Love will certainly have some opportunities downfield on a Wyoming secondary that has been less-than-stellar in 2019.
However, their defense will struggle even more with Woodward out at linebacker. Important to note that the Aggies defensive unit has given up 30+ points in each of their last three contests. Furthermore, in all but one of their five road games this year did the Aggies not give up 30 or more points.
- No trends to report
- Cowboys are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games on fieldturf.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I happen to think that 6.5-points may be a bit much to give to a team that is struggling defensively and will be without their star linebacker. Also, with this defense allowing yards like candy for much of the year, I believe that the Cowboys have a great chance to steal this game in the end. And while Chambers is out for Wyoming, Vander Waal, after a much better outing last weekend versus Boise State, will manage to take the top off a Utah State secondary that has also been very giving. Furthermore, the rushing attack for the Cowboys will ice the game in the end.
Prediction: Wyoming Cowboys +6.5
Full-Game Total Pick
And while the Aggies are horrible defensively, the Cowboys enter this matchup with their second-string QB in Vander Waal (who has struggled). On the other hand, Wyoming has the better defensive unit that will likely attempt to take out the Aggies rushing attack early to play to their strengths. The result is that their front will begin to hit Love early and often, thus signaling that the Aggies high-scoring offense will not be as successful this weekend.
Prediction: Under 50