MATCHUP: Baylor Bears (5-1, 3-1) vs. #19 BYU Cougars (5-1, ∞)
LOCATION: Waco, Texas
ODB GAME HUB: Baylor Bears vs. BYU Cougars 2021
OPPONENT’S SB NATION BLOG: Vanquish The Foe (VTF)
FIRST LOOK: #19 BYU Cougars: Here.
OURDAILYPODCAST: Convincing Wins and Storied Homecoming Rivalries
BYU DEPTH CHART/INJURY UPDATE: From VTF
COLLEGEFOOTBALLDATA.COM TEAM PAGES: Baylor | BYU
WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE: BYU
GAME NOTES (INCLUDING DEPTH CHART): Here.
BAYLORBEARS.COM PREVIEW: Here.
SPREAD: Baylor -5, O/U 51.5
TV COVERAGE: ESPN, 2:30 p.m. Saturday
UNIFORM: IT’S A SAILOR PICKLE!
WEATHER (FROM WUNDERGROUND): Still looks amazing. Gametime temperature of 71 degrees with 14 mph wins from the NNE with scattered clouds.
OPPONENT UNIFORM: We don’t usually do this, but they say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and well, BYU decided they wanted in on the Sailor ___ action. Meet Sailor Coug.
Otherwise, the Cougars will be in white tops and navy pants to go with their navy helmet.
Before we get going, let’s talk about a few things:
- Ticket Sales—Reportedly going very well. Reports are that the student pull sold out relatively quickly, to the point that they had to start issuing Berm tickets to students that did not get part of the original allotment. The Berm itself has now sold out, as well, like it did a week ago.
- The Spread—If you haven’t paid attention to the spread as I’ve done various posts over this week, it has gone from Baylor -1.5 on Sunday (the open, basically) all the way up to Baylor -6.5 as of Wednesday night, and now down slightly to Baylor -5. Money must have come in on BYU over the last 48 hours to bring that number down. The O/U has continued to rise and is now at 51.5.
- Injury News—There is none from the Baylor side to date. It remains unclear if we will see Craig Williams in this game, but we haven’t seen him much in any others, either.
- Recruiting News—I make a practice of not stealing information from paid recruiting sites, but I will tell you that if you aren’t a member of one or more of them, things look very positive for the turnout this weekend. I’ll see if I can’t put together a wrapup on Sunday after what we hope is a positive result.
Players to Know:
- #25 Tyler Allgeier—He is BYU’s primary running back and averages about 20 carries/game with 121 carries for 642 yards on the season.
- #3 Jaren Hall—BYU’s primary QB, though he has only played in 4 of their 6 games due to injury. If you see #16 come in, that’s Baylor Romney, who has also started games this season.
- #18 Gunner Romney—The Romney you are more likely to see on the field and BYU’s leading receiver this season with 23 catches for 371 yards and 3 TDs.
- #12 Puka Nacua—BYU’s second-leading receiver (by yards) with 26 catches for 331 yards and 4 TDs.
- #5 Isaac Rex—BYU’s starting TE and a feature of their passing game in the redzone with 3 TDs.
- #33 Ben Bywater—BYU’s starting MLB and leading tackler.
- #49 Payton Wilgar—BYU’s starting “flash” LB and leading TFL defender. Appears to be a pure pass-rusher.
- #58 Uriah Leiataua—One of BYU’s starting defensive ends, leads the team in sacks.
- #12 Malik Moore—Starting free safety and leads the team in interceptions.
Keys to the Game:
- Contain Jaren Hall and Tyler Allgeier. Reports from the BYU side say that Jaren Hall, their #1 QB (though their fans sometimes pine for Baylor Romney, the backup), is completely healthy. BYU has an atrocious offensive stuff rate of 22%, meaning that 22% of their running plays are stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage. That, in turns, means they have below-average explosiveness in the running game. But they will run early and often—Allgeier has a 51% usage rate on running plays and 32% on standard downs according to CollegeFootballData.com and averages 5.31 yards/carry. Hall does not run much but is athletic and elusive when he does, averaging 7.41 yards/carry. Baylor absolutely must bottle up the BYU running game with the front seven to keep our DBs from having to get too involved, because...
- We Cannot Get Beat Deep. BYU will test our corners and safeties with Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney, as well as Neil Pau’u. BYU’s offense is above-average in explosiveness in the passing game, and that is the major weakness of our defense. Against West Virginia, Baylor had a program-record 6 sacks that helped keep explosive plays to a minimum; replicating a similar pass rush in this game will be critical to keeping Hall from trying to air it out against our secondary.
- Let Gerry Cook. We saw what could happen last game when Gerry Bohanon is allowed to throw the ball and challenge defenses down the field: good things. BYU’s defense, like our own, is susceptible to giving up big plays through the air. If we can protect the QB—and BYU’s havoc rates are nothing special—Tyquan Thornton, RJ Sneed, Drew Estrada, Ben Sims, and others should have opportunities in this game. Gerry has proven he can carry the offense. We should let him do it and then hammer BYU with the run when they try to stop the pass.
With beautiful weather, a Homecoming crowd, and a 5-1 team to cheer for, the crowd should be electric in this game. There is no excuse for it not to be from either students or the fans. BYU is reeling after their first loss of the season to Boise State but also getting healthy at key positions. I don’t think we can expect them to turn the ball over as many times as they did against the Broncos, either.
I believe in Gerry Bohanon as the leader of this offense and that our OL will give him the opportunity to find open receivers. The defensive line has coalesced and is playing extremely well; they were dominant against West Virginia. I think they will do enough to bottle up Allgeier and put the game in Hall’s hands, and he won’t be able to make enough plays down the field to keep up. I think the game will be closer than some are predicting, but I’m taking Baylor to win and cover.
Before I say my score prediction, I asked a few ODB regulars and fan favorites to give me theirs. Here’s what they had to say (and you should throw each of them a follow if you aren’t following already):
- Peter Pope (@pbpope): Baylor 42, BYU 27.
- Kendall Kaut (@kendallkaut): Baylor 28, BYU 21.
- Travis Roeder (@travis_roeder): Baylor 38, BYU 27.
- David Fankhauser (@dfank_bu): Baylor 34, BYU 26.
- Amy Pagitt (@amygrahampagitt): Baylor 35, BYU -2.
- Jeff Davis (@penland365): Baylor 44, BYU 16.
- Matt Wilson (@mattisbear): Baylor 38, BYU 24.
- Etta (@bayloretta): Baylor 31, BYU 24.
Before you judge any of these people for their predictions (except Amy, obviously), I gave them zero warning that I was going to do this. Travis obviously has other thoughts that he shares on Twitter from time to time.
My prediction: Baylor 38, BYU 28.
Predict the outcome of tomorrow’s Baylor-BYU game.
This poll is closed
Baylor wins, handily (17+)
Baylor wins, comfortably (11-16)
Baylor wins, close (4-10)
Baylor wins, squeaks (1-3)
BYU wins, squeaks (1-3)
BYU wins, close (4-10)
BYU wins, comfortably (11-16)
BYU wins, handily (17+)