PROVO — In what is turning into a pretty good regional rivalry, Boise State and BYU will meet for the eighth time since 2003 on Friday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium. It's the sixth consecutive year that the two teams have played each other.

BSU will be rested and ready to play after a bye last week. Here are six numbers for fans to keep an eye on as the Cougars will be looking to rebound from early season struggles and claim their third overall win against Boise on Friday (8:15 p.m. MT, ESPN).


After throwing four interceptions last week, BYU’s offense currently ranks dead last (No. 129) in interceptions thrown. The last time that Cougar signal callers had 10 interceptions at this point of the season was during the 2009 season. That year, Max Hall led BYU to a 4-1 record after five games despite the turnovers.

Whoever is lined up under center must protect the ball better in order for BYU to have a chance in this game against a stingy Boise defense that has four interceptions this season.


When legendary coach LaVell Edwards was building the BYU program to national prominence, his Cougar offenses were known for throwing the ball all over the field. Due to injuries as well as outstanding defensive competition, that hasn’t been the case during the 2017 campaign. After the opening stretch of this season, BYU has only thrown for 763 yards and four touchdown passes.

The last time that BYU threw that few of yards to open a season occurred at some point when Edwards was still in charge. Since 2000, BYU had greater than 1,000 yards after five games 15 out of 17 seasons. The next lowest total came in 2010 when BYU had only 964 passing yards and three TD passes. The Cougars will need to rely on the throw game this weekend as the Broncos are very strong against the run; they allow 115.8 yards on the ground, which ranks them No. 30 in NCAA rush defense.


Boise State’s leading receiver by far is Cedrick Wilson, who just so happens to wear No. 1 on his jersey. The senior from Memphis has caught 29 passes for 485 total yards for 16.7 yards per catch. Wilson has accounted for more than double the number of catches than the next closest Bronco receiver and also leads the team in touchdowns with three. In comparison, four BYU receivers would need to combine their yardage to have more than Wilson does currently.

BYU’s No. 1, Troy Warner, as well as the rest of the Cougar defensive backfield, will have their hands full with Wilson while also ensuring that they don’t try too hard to lock him down and thus allowing other Bronco receivers to make plays.


BYU’s special teams have received 26 kickoffs this season. Due to penalties or decisions made by the returner, the Cougar offense has started the following drive within their own 15-yard line six times. Opposing kickers have also registered twelve touchbacks. When all of those are factored in, BYU’s average starting field position has been the 23-yard line, with their best starting spot at its own 45 and the worst their own 5-yard line.

Special teams coach Ed Lamb has undoubtedly been working with his players to make sure that they have the best chance for success. A big return could change the momentum of the game against Boise State, especially against the Bronco special teams that are allowing more than 20 yards per kickoff return.


Statistically, BYU’s defense has been better against the pass than the run. The Cougars rank No. 51 in passing yards allowed, with 1,063 receiving yards on 93 completions. That amounts to 212.6 yards per game. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 66 percent of their pass attempts and earning 11.43 yards per completion against the Cougar secondary. Boise State’s passing offense hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire so far this year, accounting for only 234.3 passing yards per game. Bronco quarterbacks have thrown 7.1 yards for every attempt and 11.57 per completion, but also have three interceptions.

If Kalani Sitake’s defense can be stout against the run and put BSU in positions where they must pass the ball, it could help the Cougars earn the win.

Landon Walters studied history and political science at Salt Lake Community College. He is an avid sports fan and loves writing. Email: