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BYU’s dreams of a perfect season and national recognition broke along with Taysom Hill’s leg in the ugly injury he suffered against Utah State. Including the game in which Hill got hurt, the Cougars have lost three straight. They take on a Boise State Broncos team that has found quite a groove offensively under first-year head coach Bryan Harsin. The Broncos are a seven-point favorite for this matchup, though some notable early steam bumped the line as high as 7.5 from the opener of 6.5.

BYU vs. Boise State College Football Preview

Date/Time: Friday October 24, 9:00 p.m. ET

TV: ESPNU

College Football Betting Odds from WagerWeb

College Football Betting Favorite: Boise State -6.5

Total: 59

Bronco Mendenhall’s Cougars have lost three straight for the first time since 2010, which was Mendenhall’s worst season since taking over in 2005. The Cougars are 4-3 straight up and just 2-5 against the season, which gives Mendenhall career records of 86-37 straight up and 65-54-1 against the number. Bryan Harsin is 5-2 straight up and 4-3 ATS in his first season with the Broncos.

BYU Cougars:

Even though Taysom Hill’s injury was a devastating blow to the 2014 season, it may be a blessing in disguise for the future of the program. Christian Stewart has done a very good job in Hill’s absence. He was awful in the second half of the Utah State game as BYU came to grips with their season being over, but he has completed 61 percent of his throws with a 7/1 TD/INT ratio since. The problem for BYU is that Stewart isn’t nearly the running threat that Hill is. The bigger problem for BYU is that their defense has been awful. Injuries and graduation losses have really hurt BYU. Without Kyle Van Noy, the defense lacks an impact player and the secondary, which was a strength of the team, has been weakened by injuries to Jordan Johnson and Craig Bills.

Boise State Broncos:

Grant Hedrick has had a great season, except for when he throws the ball to the other team. He’s got a completion percentage north of 70 percent, but just a 8/10 TD/INT ratio. The Broncos offense is averaging 485 yards per game this season and Jay Ajayi has been a huge part of their success. The running back has 207 touches for an average of 169 yards per game. Whether it’s a lack of strength on the defensive line or scheme changes, the Broncos defense has changed a lot. They’re no longer the dominant force that they were under Chris Petersen. They gave up 18 or fewer points per game from 2008-11. The loss of DeMarcus Lawrence seems to be having an impact as does the move to the Mountain West in 2012.

Free Pick: Boise State -6.5

This game is personal for both teams, but Boise State was embarrassed last season when these two teams played. The Broncos allowed 568 yards and 37 points. The offense is really firing on all cylinders and the BYU defense has a lot of injury problems right now. The blue turf can be an intimidating place to play and this will be Stewart’s first taste of this rivalry.

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