Wednesday, December 7, 2016

After the Mountaineers had their first bye week of the season, it is finally game week and the Mountaineers are set to face off against the BYU Cougars. The Mountaineers and the Cougars will have their first meeting on Saturday afternoon at FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins.

The BYU Cougars are in the myst of a two-game losing streak, sitting at a 1-2 record going into FedEx Field. The Cougars have also been rumored to be on the short list for potential schools to be added into Big 12 expansion. With that being said, this WVU-BYU match-up could be considered a precursor to potential match-ups should the Cougars join the conference.

Not only could the Cougars possibly be a regular opponent for the Mountaineers, but they will also be one of the Mountaineers’s first major defensive challenges of the season. BYU has a defensive that has held its opponents to limited yardage during their first few games. That said, the Mountaineers offense will be looking to push past the Cougars and maintain the scoring momentum evidenced in the first two victories. While the Cougars are coming off of two losses, the team has managed to lose competitively and keep the scores tight in both games. The Mountaineers will need to bring their top offense and defense in order to outlast BYU all four quarters on Saturday.

BYU is traveling literally cross-country for this neutral site game, where neither teams nor head coaches have ever played each other before. The BYU team will travel over 2,000 miles to compete against a potential, future conference foe. The Mountaineers will travel a tenth of the distance, traveling 200 miles to what could essentially be a home game in terms of distance traveled. It will be interesting to see the crowd for Saturday’s game and see how many Cougar fans have made the trip, as well as how many of their fans are readily available on the east coast.

The BYU Cougars are coming off of several years with winning records, their best being a 10-3 season in 2011. While they are an independent team, they have proven themselves to be capable of securing winning seasons consistently, which is an asset that may go far in terms of Big 12 expansion.

Both teams are going into Saturday’s game with the desire for a victory. For the Cougars, it is a chance to prove their worth for a potential bid into the the conference. The Mountaineers look to round out their non-conference schedule with all victories, with the possibility of starting off conference play strongly. Saturday’s game will bring both teams to a neutral site, but hopefully the Mountaineers will continue to expand on their past two victories, and maintain the groundwork of success to go into Big 12 play.

Welcome to the east coast, BYU, get ready to face the Mountaineers on Saturday.

Featured image credit USA Today Sports

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