BYU at SDS Preview
San Diego, CA - Max Hall and Harvey Unga have BYU playing at a high level offensively. That doesn't bode well for a San Jose State defense that hasn't had much success stopping the Cougars in recent years.
Following their most productive game of the season, the 18th-ranked Cougars look to continue their dominance of the Aztecs as the Mountain West Conference rivals meet at Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday night.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made BYU –17.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 87% of bets for this game have been placed on BYU –17.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
BYU's spot in the poll didn't change this week after beating UNLV 59-21 last Saturday night. The Cougars (5-1, 2-0) have scored 136 points in three wins since a 54-28 loss to Florida State on Sept. 19.
Against the Rebels, BYU got strong performances from Hall and Unga and finished with 611 yards - its highest total since gaining 694 in a loss at Tulsa on Sept. 15, 2007. Unga rushed for three touchdowns and 149 yards, and Hall passed for 320 yards and two more scores.
Hall threw for 317 yards and three TDs in BYU's 41-12 win over San Diego State last Nov. 8. The Cougars have won seven of their last eight meetings with the Aztecs (2-3, 0-1), averaging 46.0 points in the victories.
Hall has six TDs and one interception in two games versus San Diego State, which is allowing 25.8 points per contest this season. The senior, though, had been picked off 10 times in five games before a turnover-free contest against UNLV.
BYU's success going forward relies heavily on Hall, who is four wins shy of Ty Detmer's school-record 30.
"Max is the cornerstone of this team and this offense," Unga said. "He's a great leader. He is one of those quality guys who can lead the team during crunch time."
Unga helps keep defenses honest by providing the Cougars with a big-play threat in the backfield. He was named MWC offensive player of the week for his performance versus UNLV.
The senior has rushed for 477 yards and eight TDs in his last four games after being held to 17 in his first contest.
"(Unga) is a different type of ball player," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "He makes everything look easy."
The Cougars are eighth in the nation in scoring with 38.7 points per game and first in third-down situations with a 62 percent (44 for 71) conversion rate.
San Diego State delivered one of its most productive offensive performances of the season in a 34-17 win over New Mexico State on Oct. 3.
Vincent Brown caught three passes for 84 yards, including a 21-yard TD, in that game. The 6-foot, 185-pounder has 37 receptions and ranks sixth in the nation in receiving yards with 631.
Brown, though, has been held to 63 yards on nine catches in two games against BYU.
Brown has been productive this season even though San Diego State's running game has struggled for the most part, causing opposing defenses to focus on him. The Aztecs rank among the worst rushing teams in the nation, averaging 69.0 yards per game.
That poor average is largely due to changes on the line and senior running back Atiyyah Henderson's back injury. Henderson has yet to play this season and his return remains uncertain.
Freshman Walter Kazee, however, gave San Diego State a much-needed boost with 101 yards and a TD against New Mexico State. He got a career-high 22 carries two games after fumbling twice and being benched during a 35-19 win over Southern Utah on Sept. 12.
"He runs with a lot of energy and a lot of toughness," Aztecs coach Brady Hoke said. "He always has been a guy since he's been here that plays with a high motor and a lot of toughness."
San Diego State ran for 120 yards against BYU in last season's meeting but committed four turnovers. The Cougars lead the series 25-7-1.
Posted: 10/13/09 4:52PM ET