BYU-UNLV Matchups and Prediction: Cougars needing luck to change
Here is Jared Lloyd’s look at the BYU-UNLV matchups, including his prediction for the final score for Saturday’s game at Sam Boyd Stadium.
BYU offense vs. UNLV defense
The Cougars will be playing a quarterback with little experience without a go-to running back. That spells big trouble against a Rebel defense who has been playing better as the season has progressed.
UNLV offense vs. BYU defense
The Rebels want to run the ball, something the Cougars haven’t been able to stop consistently all year long. The matchup problems -- Sione Takitaki is undersized on the defensive line and the will linebacker spot has limitations -- have allowed opponents to march down the field, something UNLV will do successfully.
The direction of the two programs at this point in the season are a clear indication that Tony Sanchez and his staff are doing a better job than Kalani Sitake and his staff.
The Cougars have nothing on the line but also have no pressure. Big plays on offense and defense will be key and BYU hasn’t proven it can make those to the point where they can win games.
Key Matchup: BYU linebackers vs. UNLV running back Lexington Thomas
The Cougars have to shut down Thomas, who has already rushed for more than 1,000 yards, to have a shot against the Rebels. BYU wasn’t terrible against the run in the last couple of weeks (giving up an average of 138 yards) but will need to be even better this week.
The Rebels have put together a couple of victories and are still looking for bowl eligibility. BYU is just playing for pride and at this point when things start going the wrong direction, it is highly unlikely the Cougars will find a way to recover.
UNLV 25, BYU 16