Poinsettia Bowl prediction roundtable with the Campus Insiders staff. Breaking down what will happen between BYU and Wyoming.
Give me BYU here. I get that Taysom Hill is out, but Tanner Mangum has experience, and should negate any potential drop off. The Cougars field one of the nation’s top rushing defenses – allowing only 108.42 yards per game (No. 9 nationally). That should be enough to render Wyoming one-dimensional and ultimately prove enough to win a close game.
Kalani Sitake has done an incredible job in his first year as head coach at BYU. However, he’s not going to come out of this with his first bowl victory. Taysom Hill is out, and while Tanner Mangum can make plays, too, he won’t be able to out-do Josh Allen. The Wyoming quarterback will toss a couple of touchdowns and protect the ball for the most part — maybe a hiccup here or there. But the real key will be Brian Hill. He’ll run for more than 150 yards and two touchdowns to help give the Cowboys the win.
Tanner Mangum is back as the Cougars’ starting quarterback after yet another injury to Taysom Hill, who was lost with a left elbow injury in the regular-season finale. Mangum passed for 3,337 yards and 23 touchdowns last season when he took over for the injured Hill, including game-winning last-minute touchdown passes against Nebraska and Boise State. So experience will not be an issue despite him only having thrown 18 passes this season. He’ll have help on the ground in the form of senior Jamaal Williams, who rushed for 1,165 yards and 11 touchdowns this fall. The Broncos, meanwhile, have a potent one-two QB-RB punch in Josh Allen and Brian Hill, who ranks fourth in the nation with 1,767 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. Allen threw for 26 scores but was intercepted 13 times, and one critical mistake could be the difference in this matchup. Against a stout BYU defense led by Kai Nacua and Sae Tautu, it’s a fourth-quarter turnover that undoes Allen and the Cowboys.
Is Taysom Hill graduating after this game? I know he is out, but will we see a college football game without him for the first time since 1997 (or so it seems) next season? Yes? No? That is what is most important about this bowl game. Hill should have a PhD and a mortgage by now.
I’m going to go with the Cougars here.