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The Big #14 BYU vs. Houston preview

BYU has been the darling of the early season, while Houston’s turnover problems continued in their only game of 2020.

Keoni-Kordell Makekau of the Navy Midshipmen loses his helmet and the ball as he takes a hit from Damarion Williams of the Houston Cougars during the third quarter on November 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

One of the more compelling games of the weekend is actually Friday night, when the BYU Cougars matchup with the Houston Cougars for what should be an exciting offensive affair.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

Friday’s game will start at 9:30 p.m. ET at TDECU stadium in Houston, Texas. This game will appear on ESPN, and can be streamed via the ESPN app.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: BYU (-5) vs. Houston
Point Total: O/U 62.5 (-110)
Money line: BYU (-200), Houston (+155)

The Cougars are 4-0 this season and way ahead of where expectations placed them in the preseason. There’s some caveats with the 55-3 thumping of Navy considering the Mids decided not to have contact in practice before the game, but their 48-7 dusting of a Troy team with some expectations in the Sun Belt was a nice checkmark, followed by two Conference USA victories at home.

Zach Wilson, aka “Mormon Manziel,” at quarterback and he’s been lights out with a gaudy 82/101 passing for 1241 yards with and eight touchdowns against one interception so far. The visiting Cougars are averaging 7.9 yards per play while conceding 4.5, and have turned the ball over just three times in four games. Tyler Allgeier has 53 carries for 391 yards and three rushing TD’s, and wide receiver Dax Milne has 344 yards from scrimmage on just 26 catches.

Head coach Kalani Sitake was groomed for the job at his alma mater on the defensive side of the ball, and the speed, pursuit, and recognition from BYU this season has been outstanding. For a team where penalties have been a huge factor in recent years, they’re conceding just 31.3 yards per game.

On the other side the home Cougars won a 49-31 matchup with Tulane in their only game of 2020. UH has had more games impacted by Covid-19 than any team which started the season on-time, with five different games canceled or postponed.

In the win over the Green Wave, quarterback Clayton Tune was 20/33 for 319 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Turnovers have been a problem for Tune in his career, who had 11 touchdowns with nine interceptions in 2019. They were part of UH’s five turnovers in the game, and it’s impressive they won by three scores considering they failed to forced a turnover themselves.

Prediction

This comes down to how you feel about BYU, but after a couple weeks against C-USA teams in Louisiana Tech and Texas-San Antonio. They’ll be up for one of the best opponents they’ll face this season, and the turnover-prone UH can’t get away with giving free possessions to Zach Wilson and a team that can score with anyone.

In the Battle of Cougars, we’ll lay the five points with the blue team.

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