Key Cougars to look out for on Thursday

The Broncos are coming off a huge victory over Miami of Ohio. The Cougars are coming into Thursday’s game off a close loss to rival Utah. BYU is 0-2 against Boise State since BSU became a Division 1 school in 1996. Thursday will be the first time both teams meet in what is to be a 12-year football series. Both defenses look to be in mid-season form and are just waiting for the offenses to catch up. Expect a smash mouth hard-hitting performance in a game that should be decided in the trenches.

BYU players to watch for:

Senior quarterback Riley Nelson

Nelson is the Cougars’ undisputed leader and named to the pre-season Davey O’Brien and Maxwell Award watch list. He was named as the Independent Player of the Week for week three. Throwing for over 700 yards and five touchdowns on the season and just two interceptions, Nelson is not the biggest quarterback, but he can make every throw with precision. The former Parade All-American and Deseret News Mr. Football for the state of Utah has started 25 games and will not be rattled by ESPN, the lights, the blue turf or the atmosphere at Bronco Stadium on Thursday.

Sophomore wide receiver Ross Apo

The 6-foot-3 receiver earned Letterman honors as a freshman, seeing action in all 13 games and starting in four during the 2011 season. He was the team’s second leading receiver, having a reception in 11 of 13 games, catching 34 passes for 453 yards and nine touchdowns. The All Independent freshman All American has had a slow start to the 2012 season catching only four passes for 31 yards but is expected to test the BSU secondary.

Junior linebacker Kyle Van Noy

The Reno, Nev. linebacker will certainly play a force in this game. As a sophomore, Van Noy earned Letterman honors playing in all 13 games and starting in eight, recording 68 tackles and led the Cougars with 15 tackles for loss, seven sacks, and tied for the team lead with three interceptions. Van Noy is the only FBS Division I player to record a stat in the following categories: tackle, tackle for loss, sack, interception, pass breakup, quarterback hurry, fumble recovery, forced fumble, blocked kick and touchdown. He was named to Phil Steele All-Independent First Team, Yahoo! Sports All-Independent Team and FBS All-Independent Team. Van Noy comes in with 15 total tackles, seven for loss and four sacks on the season.

About the author  ⁄ Lucio Prado