A headline in the Salt Lake Tribune that ran shortly before BYU faced Utah State read: “With what lies ahead, a Cougars loss to suddenly dangerous Aggies could be disastrous.”
On Friday at Maverik Stadium, the Cougars could feel an uneasy bond with Boise State after BYU’s 40-24 loss. They had seven turnovers, the most by anyone in Logan since the Broncos had eight in 2015.
For Boise State, it spend this past week licking wounds from a 42-23 home loss Sept. 22 against Virginia. This coming Friday, Boise State and BYU face off in Provo (8:15 p.m., ESPN) as each team looks to turn around abnormally rough starts.
“We’re going to evaluate everything again,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said after the Utah State loss. “The only choice we have is to go back to square one and try to find a way to win games and try to get this win against Boise State next week.”
“There’s going to be some changes, bottom line,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said following Virginia. “There’s going to be some changes. What those changes are, I don’t know yet ... . We need to fix right now the consistency of our entire team, all three phases. It just can’t be about one side or one phase.”
The Broncos are 68th in scoring offense (29.8 points per game), 100th in total offense (351.3 yards per game) and 104th in rushing offense (117 ypg). The Cougars have been even worse, ranking 128th (12.6 ppg), 125th (256.6 ypg) and 115th (104 ypg) in those respective categories.
They also have quarterback issues, with Eagle native Tanner Mangum out the last two games with an ankle injury. Coach Kalani Sitake said it is “personal” for the junior wanting to face the Broncos, though his status is unclear. Sophomore Beau Hoge started in Mangum’s place, but was hurt against Utah State, and walk-on sophomore Koy Detmer Jr. finished out the game.
Boise State had 571 total yards in a 28-27 win over BYU last year in Boise, but turned it over five times. The Broncos have a 5-2 advantage in the all-time series, but have just one win in Provo.
Someone will win Friday, and it could right the ship a bit. The Salt Lake Tribune said it has been “arguably the worst month in program history” for BYU. Boise State has not started out a season 2-3 since 2001.
Following the Virginia loss, junior defensive end Durrant Miles called it “great fuel to the fire” as the bye week approached.
For whatever team ends up on the losing side Friday night, the fanbase’s simmering anger will also get a little more fuel, too.