Iowa State (4-2, 5-4) BYU (2-4, 5-4)
Kickoff: Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MST.
Venue: LaVell Edwards Stadium (Capacity: 63,725).
Radio: KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM/BYU Radio Sirius XM 143.
Series: Iowa State leads, 4-0.
Weather: Mostly clear skies at kickoff, with temperatures in the low 50s throughout the day but dropping into the 30s as night falls. Winds will be light and variable with very little chance for rain showers.
For BYU: The Cougars are coming off a disappointing 37-7 loss at West Virginia in which they were dominated on both sides of the ball and didn’t score until less than seven minutes remained in the game. Injuries have riddled their defensive line and secondary, leaving them susceptible to rushing attacks and big plays in the air.
Offensively, junior Jake Retzlaff will get the start at quarterback for the second straight week, replacing an injured Kedon Slovis. The Cougars could be without two of their top five receivers — Kody Epps and Darius Lassiter — but should get freshman running back LJ Martin back after he missed the last two games with an injury.
For Iowa State: It is facing BYU for the first time since 1974, when the Cyclones downed the Cougars 34-7 in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State is trying to get its third straight conference road win in the same season for the first time since 1978.
Last week, the Cyclones lost 28-21 at home to No. 22 Kansas. Quarterback Rocco Becht has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all eight of his games as a starter. Cornerback T.J. Tampa is considered a likely NFL draft first-round pick and has given up just one touchdown in his last 374 coverage snaps.
What to watch for
The Cougars have been trying to get bowl eligible for the past two games, but losses to Texas and West Virginia have created a desperation situation Saturday in Provo, partly because BYU’s next two opponents are nationally ranked — Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
The Cougars are undefeated at home this season, having defeated Sam Houston, Southern Utah, Cincinnati and Texas Tech. BYU’s Kalani Sitake will be coaching in his 100th game as the Cougars’ head coach and has compiled a 61-38 record at the helm.
The Cougars’ strength at home has been forcing turnovers, which they will need to do Saturday to stay with the Cyclones as touchdown underdogs. BYU is tied for No. 16 in turnover margin nationally (+.78) and is No. 11 in takeaways, having attained 18. They are No. 7 in interceptions, with 12.
Iowa State is also looking to get bowl eligible, with games vs. No. 7 Texas and at Kansas State looming ahead. The Cyclones have been bowl eligible in five of their last six seasons. Keep an eye on ISU WR Jaylin Noel, who is second in the Big 12 with 5.9 receptions per game. He’s also a standout kickoff and punt returner, averaging 47.2 yards on kickoffs and 6.7 yards on punts.
Jake Retzlaff, junior, BYU, quarterback: The junior college transfer will get his second start at QB, and perhaps the most important of his career. Deliver a victory, and the job is his the remainder of the season. Struggle, and fans will start clamoring to get Kedon Slovis back before Oklahoma visits next week.
Retzlaff will need some help. BYU’s offensive line simply has to play better, give the junior more help and better protection, if the Cougars are to pull off the upset and Retzlaff is to shine. With more time to get Retzlaff prepared, look for BYU OC Aaron Roderick to use more RPO plays and sprintouts to utilize the quarterback’s mobility.
“Looking at their team, they can run the ball. The QB can run. They have tons of talent. Big, physical as a team on the offensive side. On defense, probably one of the better defensive backfields I have seen. Really good corners. I think one (T.J. Tampa) is a projected high draft pick. They have a lot of great players on defense. I think they have the conference’s best defense for a reason. So, we have got to be ready to play against them. We gotta find a way to put points on the board and have our guys execute at a high level for all three phases so we can have a chance to win this game.” — BYU coach Kalani Sitake.
“Honestly, in this environment, there’s so much history and prestige at BYU, and we’re honored and excited to be able to go play in this venue and against this opponent. Just really excited for our first time out there, and to be at night. I know it’s going to be a great environment and we look forward to it.”— Iowa State coach Matt Campbell.
BYU: vs. Oklahoma on Nov. 18.
Iowa State: vs. Texas on Nov. 18.
- Aug. 31 — BYU 14, Sam Houston 0.
- Sept. 9 — BYU 41, Southern Utah 16.
- Sept. 16 — BYU 38, Arkansas 31.
- Sept. 23 — Kansas 38, BYU 27.
- Sept. 29 — BYU 36, Cincinnati 27.
- Oct. 14 — TCU 44, BYU 11.
- Oct. 21 — BYU 27, Texas Tech 14.
- Oct. 28 — Texas 35, BYU 6.
- Nov. 4 — West Virginia 37, BYU 7
- Nov. 11 — vs. Iowa State, 8:15 p.m. MST.
- Nov. 18 — vs. Oklahoma (TBA).
- Nov. 25 — at Oklahoma State (TBA).