After going 9-4 in the 2016 season, the BYU Cougars look to build on their success in 2017 with their first home game this weekend. Their first opponent is FCS program, Portland State, who went 3-8 last year. The game takes place Saturday at 1 p.m., on ESPN. Here are the six numbers for BYU in this week's matchup.
Since 2007, BYU has gone undefeated against Big Sky Conference programs going 4-0, while racking up 50.5 points per game. Along the way, the Cougars have beaten Eastern Washington, Weber State, and Idaho State by scoring a combined 202 points, while allowing only 36 points in 4 total games.
A number of games true freshman quarterback, Jalani Eason, has started for Portland State is 0 at the collegiate level. With his first start coming against an FBS team in BYU, Portland State coach, Bruce Barnum, compared the match-up to the one against Washington last season. Portland State lost 41-3 at the hands of the Huskies, and that was with their senior-laden quarterback, Alex Kuresa. Putting pressure on the young quarterback will be in the cards for BYU.
It is no secret that Portland State would rather run the ball than pass it around the field. Last year, they averaged 243.6 rushing yards per game, with a solid 5.3 yards per rush, compared to only 210.5 passing yards a game. Still, Portland State lost their top 3 players in the rushing game from last season. Look for BYU, who held opponents to 112.8 rushing yards per game last season, to assert its dominance in the trenches to stop Portland State's game plan.
Keeping with the running theme, Portland State loves to give up rushing yards to opponents. At least last season, this was the case. Every game, the Portland State defense allowed 249.1 rushing yards. Look for players like Squally Canada, Kavika Fonua, and KJ Hall to have a field day.
Portland State vs. FBS teams last season lost by a margin of 34.5 points per game. Losing in back-to-back weeks to San Jose State and Washington during the 2016 campaign, Portland State will struggle to upset any FBS teams this season either.
Last season, the Cougars allowed 19.5 points per game to opposing offenses, making them a Top 20 FBS Defense in this category. Over the last five games, they were even better, only allowing 10 points per contest. This week, Portland State will score less than double digits.
Shane Reinhard is a graduate of Weber State University and a teacher and coach at St. Joseph Catholic High School in Ogden, Utah. Email: [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @hoopsters12.