BYU (0-0, 0-0) vs. Northern Iowa (0-0, 0-0)
Today, 4 p.m. LaVell Edwards Stadium (64,045) natural grass Provo
TV: The mtn. Radio: 1160AM, 102.7FM
PLAYER TO WATCH
COREY LEWIS, running back: He rushed for 1,513 yards in 2007, a UNI single-season record. He has 15 100-yard rushing games in his career. BYU only allowed one 100-yard rusher last season.
NORTHERN IOWA'S defense vs. BYU's offense: Northern Iowa's 4-2-5 defensive scheme will face what is expected to be an explosive BYU offense that returns almost every starter from a team that averaged 30.1 points per game last season. The Panthers' defense, which returns seven starters, was ranked No. 7 in the Football Championship Subdivision in scoring defense, allowing 16.85 points per game.
For BYU ... This is the opening game for a team poised to win a third consecutive Mountain West Conference championship, post a perfect record and earn a BCS berth. The Cougars are counting on getting their Quest for Perfection off to a strong start. Simply put, a loss today would be disastrous.
For Northern Iowa ... An upset over No. 16 BYU would register as the biggest victory in school history and, from a national perspective, would be almost akin to Appalachian State's win over Michigan in the season-opener a year ago.
For BYU ... The Cougars are 1-2 in season-openers under Bronco Mendenhall. That lone win was last season vs. Arizona.
For Northern Iowa ... The Panthers are not intimidated by playing larger opponents on the road. They downed Iowa State last season.
BYU will win if ... the defense contains Lewis and the offense plays anywhere close to what it is expected.
Northern Iowa will win if ... it forces and capitalizes on turnovers; BYU quarterback Max Hall gets hurt; and Panther QB Pat Grace, in his debut, plays like Steve Young.
No major injuries.
Washington, after opening at Oregon, will host the Cougars at Seattle.