BYU football looks to jump-start offense against Utah State

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The BYU-Utah State rivalry involves a trophy of sorts — the Old Wagon Wheel. In 2016, BYU beat Utah State 28–10 to take home the Old Wagon Wheel. (Photo by BYU Photo)

Looking to avoid their fourth straight loss, the BYU football team will battle Utah State in a crucial game on Friday.

The last time the Cougars found themselves sitting at 1–3 was in 2010 when they had their fourth loss handed to them by none other than the Utah State Aggies (31–16) in Logan. BYU will travel up north to Maverik Stadium hoping history won’t repeat itself.

A struggling Cougar offense has led the team to a 1–3 record and they now find themselves at the bottom of the college football food chain. BYU’s 77.5 rushing yards per game has them ranked 123rd out of 130 FBS teams while their 144 passing yards per game has them sitting at 119th. Overall, with just 222 total offensive yards per game, BYU is currently ranked 129th in total offense. Only the University of Texas at El Paso is worse with 210 yards per game.

These statistics manifest themselves in the fact that the Cougars have only scored four touchdowns and put up a total of 39 points this season. They are the only team in the nation to average less than 10 points per game (9.8).

Statistics taken from NCAA.com. (Chart by Kat Leakehe/UV360)

Despite the hardships, BYU head coach Kalani Sitake remains positive.

“I think the attention that the offense is drawing is taking away a lot of the good things I think we’re doing in our other two phases,” Sitake said. “But there are still a lot of positives on the offensive side that we’re seeing. We just need to find ways to make plays and get first downs and get points on the board.”

While a poor start isn’t what the team hoped for, BYU finds themselves in familiar territory. Last year, the Cougars found themselves with an identical 1–3 record before facing Toledo. It was a 55–53 win over the Rockets that launched BYU into winning seven of their eight remaining games of the season. They then went on to beat Wyoming in the Poinsettia Bowl.

While there is certainly room for improvement, Sitake remains confident in his team.

“We know what we’re good at, in all three phases, and we’re trying to focus on what we’re good at and develop an identity, specifically on offense and try to be a lot cleaner on defense,” Sitake said. “We’re just trying to find ways to win.”

Historically, BYU has played well against Utah State. This is the 87th meeting between the two schools, with a 48–35–3 BYU advantage. More recently, the Cougars are 8–2 against the Aggies in the last 10 games, including last year’s 28–10 win at LaVell Edwards Stadium and a commanding 51–28 win in Logan in 2015. The Cougars will look to add one more to the win column and take that “Old Wagon Wheel” home once again.

The teams face off on Friday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. at the Maverik Stadium in Logan, Utah. The game will be broadcasted on CBS Sports Network. Fans can also listen live on BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143) or on KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.

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