MATCHUP: #9 Baylor Bears (1-0, 0-0) vs. #21 BYU Cougars (1-0, N/A)
LOCATION: Provo, Utah
ODB GAME HUB: Baylor Bears at BYU Cougars 2022
OPPONENT’S SB NATION BLOG: Vanquish The Foe (VTF)
ODB QUICK HITTER: BYU.
ODB DEPTH CHART POST: Here.
COLLEGEFOOTBALLDATA.COM TEAM PAGES: Baylor | BYU (these may open as 2021, but the drop-down menu has populated for 2022).
WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE: BYU
GAME NOTES (INCLUDING DEPTH CHART): Here.
BAYLORBEARS.COM PREVIEW: Here.
SPREAD: BYU -3.5 (opened at -3), O/U 53.5
TV COVERAGE: ESPN, 9:15 CT
UNIFORM: DON’T KNOW YET, CHECK BACK. BYU is going with all blue.
WEATHER (IN PROVO):
Should be pretty amazing. Per Wunderground.com, the high in Provo on Saturday should be around 84 degrees, with a game-time (local time of 8:15 PM) temperature of 72 degrees dropping into the sixties thereafter. Humidity shouldn’t be a problem for the entire day.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Both teams are 1-0 on the young season, Baylor following a 69-10 demolition of the Albany Great Danes on Saturday night, and BYU after their own 50-21 win over Gerry Bohanon and the USF Bulls. I haven’t watched any of that game yet, but the early returns from people that have are that Gerry was, unfortunately, not good.
Baylor’s win (combined with other games, obviously) boosted our ranking from #10 in both major polls to #8 in the Coaches Poll and #9 in the AP Poll. BYU jumped from “receiving votes” in the Coaches Poll to #25, and #25 in the AP Poll to #21. Thus, we get to the numbers set forth above.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR?
A final score of 38-24 does not quite tell the story from last year’s game. After a much needed rewatch, I find it safe to say that Baylor could have won last year’s contest only running the ball.
Every between the tackles rushing attempt to the right seemed to be an instant 3-yard gain, even when the play was diagnosed correctly by the BYU defense.
This game could have very well been much closer. Gerry Bohanon did hit one long completion to Tyquan Thornton, but aside from that, turned a subpar performance. 2-3 passes could easily have been intercepted, and probably should have.
The opportunities were definitely present, as Bohanon was able to find receivers sitting in LARGE gaps in that BYU zone.
Even so, Baylor opted to run the ball an overwhelming amount of the available snaps. Baylor attempted six passes in the second half. Six.
Abram Smith had a great game last year vs BYU.— mattisbear (@mattisbear) September 6, 2022
Here are a couple of hints why: pic.twitter.com/ORrkXn4maK
Baylor ran the ball for 7.9 yards per carry in the second half. There’s your game.
Defensively, BYU was reduced to one dimension...and really only one dimension within that dimension. Puka Nacua inflicted an overwhelming majority of his 168 yards when matched up with Raleigh Texada or Kalon Barnes. Most of Nacua’s yardage came on two long, high-lofted throws that were placed where Texada or Barnes couldn’t contest.
Al Walcott was substituted in for Texada in the second half and kept Nacua quiet for much of the 3rd quarter.
Gunner Romney also pulled in 3 catches for 81 yards, but most were highly contested or left available to Jaren Hall underneath as the game became out of reach.
The story for most of the second half was the pressure generated from the defensive line. Garmon Randolph had multiple impact plays, but the line as a whole created a very uncomfortable pocket for Hall who was forced to play most of his pure drop backs off-schedule.
All in all, if Baylor can run the ball with any level of success resembling 2021, I think it will be a good day for the Bears.
ADVANCED STATS OVERVIEW:
I wasn’t going to do much here because I didn’t think we would have the stats available to do it. We definitely do not have the chart I typically try to use from FootballOutsiders.com that combines SP+ and FEI into F+ (I assume it will be available later in the week), mostly because FEI has yet to update.
What we do have are the latest rankings from SP+ at ESPN.com as of a few minutes ago. There, Baylor jumped all the way from 30th to 13th, and BYU did so from 25th to 17th. SP+ loves the Baylor defense, ranking it 6th against our 39th-ranked offense. BYU is 21st in both, interestingly.
Because we are so early in the season, I would absolutely caution you against reading too much—or anything at all—into the rankings themselves. They are based almost entirely on preseason projections with just one game played, and for Baylor, that game was against decidedly inferior competition. Still, as Bill C. notes in his article about the rankings themselves, Baylor was one of the biggest movers across the country, and that means something.
Cody Orr will have more in this arena later this week.
POSSIBLE INJURY NEWS:
The latest information we have on Baylor says that everyone should be available for Saturday night’s game; Aranda said specifically after the game against Albany that he was unaware of any injuries that night, and then yesterday said that Christian Morgan, who sat with a hamstring injury, should be ready to go against the Cougars.
The same may not be true for BYU, particularly with respect to their two leading receivers from last season, Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney. Those two combined for 249 receiving yards against the Bears last year.
Against USF on Saturday, Romney did not play at all, while Nacua only caught one pass (but also had 3 rushes for 76 yards). The latest information I can find says both are questionable for our game, although Sitake apparently said that if needed last week, Nacua could have played the rest of the game.
If either or both of those two are limited against Baylor, things change dramatically for BYU on offense. Gone this season is Tyler Allgeier, BYU’s leading rusher last year, and their offense has been reconfigured to be more reliant on a passing attack with Jaren Hall leading the way. Potentially losing his two top weapons at WR makes mounting that attack against Baylor’s defense much more difficult.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING:
Early read on Baylor - BYU is if one of Romney/Nacua are out, BYU is gonna need Jaren Hall to play like a top 5 pick to hang. And he's obviously capable of that. Great player, looks like an NFL QB on tape.— Travis Roeder (@Travis_Roeder) September 6, 2022
How dominant has @BYUfootball been on offense? How has their defense been? What can the stats tell us about @BUFootball’s next opponent in this matchup of future #Big12 opponents with #Baylor and #Byu!https://t.co/jpPaKWhD3n pic.twitter.com/4CQUwg6sZg— Sam Bradshaw (@Baylor_S11) September 6, 2022
When Baylor arrives Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium, Dave Aranda expects a loud, packed BYU crowd to welcome its future Big 12 rival to Provo, Utah. https://t.co/EUYrCMZSyg— Waco Tribune-Herald (@wacotrib) September 5, 2022
https://t.co/qUo8UavrD5— Matt MacKay (@Matt_MacKay_) September 6, 2022
Huge primetime showdown in Provo this weekend!
Can BYU's offense outmatch a talented Baylor squad?
Tap below to find out which line to tail and which lines to fade on Saturday night.
53.5 #bettingtwitter #NCAAF #GamblingTwitter