BYU Cougars vs. Wyoming Cowboys
Poinsettia Bowl Game Pick: BYU -10.5 points (December 21st 2016)
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There is really a massive gap in talent here as the BYU Cougars should be better than the Wyoming Cowboys at almost every position in this game. That’s why I’m willing to lay 10.5 points here. And the Cougars won eight games this season against a ridiculously tough schedule.
Indeed, the Cougars had to play the likes of Arizona, Utah, UCLA, West Virginia, Michigan State, Toledo, Mississippi State, Boise State and Cincinnati in their first nine games to open the season. Amazingly, the Cougars were oh so close to being a 12-0 team as their four losses came by a combined eight points. They came to Utah (by 1), UCLA (by 3), WVU (by 3) and Boise State (by 1).
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I have to give credit to Wyoming because it did have a great turnaround season, but I’m pretty sure that BYU will now be the best team that the Cowboys have faced this season. This is a Wyoming team that lost to Nebraska by 35 and New Mexico by 21. They also had bad losses to both Eastern Michigan and UNLV this season.
I realize that BYU will have to go with its backup quarterback here after Taysom Hill went down in the last game with a season-ending injury for the fourth time in five years. Fortunately, the Cougars have one of the most experienced backups in the country in sophomore Tanner Mangum.
Mangum completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 3,377 yards with 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a freshman while replacing Hill last year. Mangum also saw action in the team’s final three games of the season, completing 14-of-18 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns, so he comes in with plenty of experience.
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This game will come down to which team stops the run better. Wyoming’s Brian Hill rushed for 1,767 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. But BYU has a rush defense that ranks 8th in the country, allowing just 108.4 yards per game and 3.4 yards per carry. The Cougars also only allow 19.4 points per game and 364 total yards per game.
BYU senior Jamaal Williams rushed for 1,165 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing three of the last five games with an ankle injury. Now he’s in line for a huge game against a Wyoming defense that gives up 34.8 points per game, 464 yards per game and 6.6 yards per play. The Cowboys also give up 203 rushing yards per game and 5.3 per carry. Look for the Cougars to score at will in this one.
BYU is 6-0 ATS in non-conference road games this season. The Cougars are 8-0 ATS in their last eight road games after allowing 125 or fewer rushing yards in four straight games. BYU is 4-0 ATS in its last four vs. MWC opponents. The Cougars have gone 7-0 SU & 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings. The Cowboys are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games. Bet BYU in the Poinsettia Bowl.
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