Ask Our Experts: Should BYU Start Jaren Hall Or Baylor Romney?

Oct 30, 2019, 1:54 PM | Updated: 2:24 pm
(Images courtesy Deseret News)...
(Images courtesy Deseret News)
(Images courtesy Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Starting BYU quarterback Zach Wilson went out after a thumb injury and surgery. Both Jaren Hall, second string, and Baylor Romney, third string, have looked great behind center. So who should get the start against Utah State?

KSL Sports asks that question to our BYU insiders, Mitch Harper and Spencer Linton. One says Romney; the other says Hall.

Both have written up their arguments and made their case. Take a look and let us know what you think.

Spencer’s take: Jaren Hall

Mitch’s take: Baylor Romney

How did we get here? 

It seems like ages ago. Wilson was injured during the Toledo game on September 28. Tied at 21 points each, Toledo was driving with just a few minutes left in the fourth quarter.

BYU linebacker Chaz Ah You forced a fumble and the Cougars had the ball back at the 20 yard line with a chance to win or at least push the game into overtime.

On the first play of the drive, Wilson’s pass was intercepted by defensive back Robinson Kahlil and returned 40 yards.

Wilson assisted on the tackle two yards short of the goal line. The Rockets punched it in for the game-winning touchdown with 51 seconds remaining.

It was a bizarre chain of events that put a cloud on the season. BYU fans had already expected the year to be brutal – especially with four straight games against Power 5 teams at the front of the schedule.

Despite disappointing losses to Utah and Washington, the Cougars had managed to beat Tennessee in Knoxville and No. 24 USC in Provo. They were 2-2 and looking down the back half of a manageable schedule.

Unbeknownst to many, that Wilson hit at Glass Bowl Stadium did some serious damage. BYU lost to a team who the week before had allowed 405 yards passing and 246 yards rushing against Colorado State. Wilson was out with a broken thumb in need of surgery.

Hall or Romney?

Jaren Hall vs. South Florida

With Wilson out, but back-up Jaren Hall and third string quarterback Baylor Romney have each started a game.

Hall performed well in that final minute against Toledo. He had passes of 17 yards to Lopina Katoa, 12 yards to Moroni Laulu-Pututau and 10 yards to Talon Shumway. Had the Cougars managed the clock better, Hall could have orchestrated an amazing march down the field and given BYU a chance. He just needed more time.

In his first start the following week against South Florida, Hall looked impressive before he went out with a concussion. He was 15 of 23 for 148 yards with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Dax Milne. He was also BYU’s lead rushing, with 83 yards on 16 carries, including a 29-yard touchdown run. His longest run of the game went for 32 yards.

The fanbase was fired up. BYU had a 13-point first half lead. They still led by 9 at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Baylor Romney vs. No. 14 Boise State

Just like Jaren Hall after Wilson got hurt, Baylor Romney looked good during his time at the end of the South Florida game. He was 6 for 10 with 73 yards passing. Romney also had an 8-yard run.

During BYU’s last drive, Romney had passes of 22 yards to brother Gunner Romney, and 17 yards to Talon Shumway. The previous drive he had a 26-yard pass to Matt Bushman.

In his first start against No. 14 Boise State, the Cougars were 2-4. The Broncos were undefeated at 6-0, and in the national conversation for a potential New Year’s bowl. BYU was down to it’s third string quarterback. Starting running back Ty’Son Williams was also lost to the season, and the Cougars were playing on their heals.

Before the game, players said the coaches’ jobs were on the line, but they believed and would do their best.

Despite the odds stacked against them, and wet, cold and miserable weather in Provo, nearly 59,000 diehard BYU fans showed up to support their team, win or lose.

Baylor Romney and the Cougars delivered.

BYU had arguably their best third quarter of the season. They took the lead for the first time on a 46-yard Sione Finau touchdown run, scored twice more on 27-yard and 39-yard touchdown passes from Romney to Matt Bushman.

They did just enough to hold off Boise State and take the win – their second against a Top 25 team at home, for possibly the first time in program history.

Romney was 15 of 26 for 221 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to the Bushman touchdowns, Romney had another 39-yard pass to Talon Shumway.

After the win, fans rushed the field to celebrate.

Utah State in Logan

That takes us to Saturday in Logan. Spencer Linton says Jaren Hall earned his back-up role after months of spring ball, fall practice, and what he did on the field.

Then again, Mitch Harper says Baylor Romney has the hot hand and the momentum.

With two very good quarterbacks to pick from, head coach Kalani Sitake has a tough decision to make. Who would you start against the Aggies?

Take a look at Spencer and Mitch’s takes, then vote in our KSL Sports poll.

Jaren Hall Earned Spot Long Ago; Should Start Against Utah State

Baylor Romney Has ‘Hot Hand;’ Should Start Against Utah State




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Ask Our Experts: Should BYU Start Jaren Hall Or Baylor Romney?