BYU vs. Houston

No. 14 BYU vs. Houston Friday Night Lights | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

Written by on October 15, 2020

It’s a matchup of Cougars in the second game of an ESPN college football doubleheader on Friday night when No. 14 BYU looks to keep its College Football Playoff hopes alive when it visits a good Houston team in a non-conference game (BYU isn’t in a conference).

How to Bet BYU at Houston NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

  • When: Friday, 9:30 PM ET
  • Where: TDECU Stadium, Houston
  • TV: ESPN
  • Stream: ESPN app
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: BYU -4.5 (total 62.5)

Series History

The teams haven’t met since 2013. BYU has won the only two meetings.

Why Bet on BYU? | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

BYU (4-0) got a bit of a scare last week but escaped with a 27-20 win over Texas-San Antonio. Quarterback Zach Wilson, a Heisman candidate, went 22 of 30 for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Wilson also added six rushes for 19 yards that included a four-yard rushing score.

BYU wide receivers Dax Milne and Gunner Romney combined for 11 catches and 182 yards. Milne eclipsed 100 yards for the second time this season and had seven catches himself, matching a career high. Tyler Allgeier led the way for the Cougars on the ground, rushing for 116 yards on 19 attempts including one touchdown, good for 6.1 yards per carry.

Wilson reached the 1,000 passing yard mark in a single season in fewer attempts than any other BYU quarterback with just 73. Ty Detmer did it in 94 in 1989 and Steve Sarkisian (1996) and Ryan Hancock (1992) each did it in 96 attempts.

BYU has started the 2020 season 4-0, the first 4-0 start since the 2014 season. The Cougars have not started 5-0 since the 2008 season when they won the first six games of the year. It is the best start under head coach Kalani Sitake. The No. 14 ranking is BYU’s highest ranking since the 2009 season, when the Cougars reached as high as No. 7 in the AP poll. The 2009 team finished the year ranked No. 12.

Romney said that he’s good to go this week after taking a couple hard hits during the win over UTSA. There were a couple occasions Saturday night in which Romney had to depart in order to be checked out by team trainers, but he was ultimately fine.

The junior wideout, whose role within the BYU offense became of even greater importance once TE Matt Bushman suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon rupture, has caught 20 passes for 453 yards and two touchdowns this season. Romney was added to the 2020 Biletnikoff Award Watch List by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation this week. His 453 receiving yards ranks No. 4 in the FBS and the junior leads the nation in receptions of more than 20 yards with 10, and more than 30 yards with seven. His 22.65 yards per reception and 113.3 yards per game both rank 10th nationally.

Why Bet on Houston? | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

BYU and Houston share more than just a mascot in the Cougars. The two schools are the last two programs from non-Power 5 leagues to have a Heisman Trophy winner with Houston’s Andre Ware winning it in 1989, followed by BYU’s Ty Detmer taking home the honor in 1990.

Houston finally played its season opener last week after a few cancellations and beat Tulane 49-31 despite turning the ball over five times. Houston’s 49 points were the most by a Cougar team under Head Coach Dana Holgorsen. The 17-point deficit is tied for the sixth-largest that a Houston squad has erased in program history and its largest come-from-behind victory since Oct. 29, 2016 against UCF.

Senior quarterback Clayton Tune completed 20-of-33 passes for 319 yards, finishing with two passing touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Marquez Stevenson became the 14th Cougar to rack up 2,000 career receiving yards, finishing the game with five catches for 118 yards and a TD. The also set a TDECU Stadium record with a 97-yard kickoff return touchdown after the Green Wave took a 31-28 lead late in the third quarter.

Among active FBS players, Houston’s Marcus Jones and Stevenson rank first and second, respectively in career kickoff return touchdowns. Jones ranks first among active FBS players with four career kickoff return touchdowns, while Stevenson picked up his third career kickoff return touchdown last week.

The Green Wave converted only four of its 16 third-down conversions, while its 211 total offense yards were the fewest Houston allowed since Oct. 29, 2016 against UCF (195 yards).

The last time a ranked non-conference opponent traveled to TDECU Stadium came in 2016, as Houston rolled past then No. 3/5 Louisville. The Cougars recorded 11 sacks against future Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.

Game Trends

  • BYU is 11-5 ATS in their last 16 road games.
  • BYU is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
  • BYU is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games as a favorite.
  • Houston is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 Friday games.
  • Houston is 21-7-1 ATS in their last 29 games as an underdog.
  • Expert Prediction
  • BYU 29, Houston 24

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