Three Storylines That Could Determine Winner Of BYU/Arizona

Sep 2, 2021, 8:43 PM
BYU Football Tyler Allgeier...
BYU running back Tyler Allgeier led the Cougars in rushing yards in the 27-20 win over UTSA. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
(BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – BYU Football is set to return this Saturday in a match-up with the Arizona Wildcats.

BYU vs. Arizona Storylines

It will be 65,000 strong at Allegiant Stadium as the Cougars and the Wildcats kick off the 2021 season. BYU is looking to build upon an 11-1 campaign in 2020, while new head coach Jedd Fisch looks to right the ship in Tucson. Here are three storylines that could determine the winner of BYU and Arizona.

1. BYU & Arizona feature new faces at QB

Jaren Hall takes over the job from the current New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson, who had an all-time great season last year for the Cougars. Hall shouldn’t be expected to put up the same numbers as Wilson, but Hall is more than capable of playing at a high level, as evidenced in his playing time in 2019.

It will be 672 days between the last time we saw Jaren Hall play quarterback at BYU and kickoff against Arizona. If Hall can keep the ball moving, limit turnovers and find the many offensive weapons that surround him, BYU should walk away with a win.

It will be a two-man look for the Wildcats on Saturday, with Gunner Cruz and Will Plummer expected to take snaps. Cruz is a transfer from Washington State who played in one game in 2020. Plummer played in three games last season and has yet to throw his first collegiate touchdown pass. The Wildcats lost starter Grant Gunnell this offseason, who transferred to Memphis.

2. Limiting the big plays

It’s the first game of the season for both teams and both will look to establish consistency in Game 1. BYU’s defense under Ilaisa Tuiaki has played a lot of zone and worked to keep the ball in front of their defenders. That will be the key against a Wildcat team that’s on a 12-game losing streak.

The Cougar defense shouldn’t have a problem against this Arizona offense, but a few big plays can keep a feisty team in the game. BYU needs to limit the big plays and get off the field on third down: don’t let the Wildcats stay in the game with poor tackling or blown coverages.

3. Let your best player eat

Don’t get it twisted; the best player on BYU’s offense is running back Tyler Allgeier. Allgeier ran for over 1000 yards last season and had six games with over 100 rushing yards. He never reached 20 rushing attempts in a single game in 2020. That will change quickly in 2021.

Coming into Game 1 with a new quarterback and three new starters along the offensive line, the Cougars should rely on their most consistent player. Running the ball well early will give the offensive line confidence and open up the passing game for Jaren Hall. Lean on your strengths if your BYU; give Tyler Allgeier the ball early and often.

BYU and Arizona kick-off at 8:30 pm MT on Saturday, September 4th. Listen to the game on KSL NewsRadio, 102.7 FM and 1160 am, with pregame coverage beginning at 6:30 pm MT. Get ready for the game with Cougar Sports Saturday on KSL NewsRadio from 12-3 pm MT.

Dallen Graff is a KSL Sports Contributor. He is the Producer of Cougar Sports Saturday (SUBSCRIBE) on KSL NewsRadio. Follow him on Twitter.

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Three Storylines That Could Determine Winner Of BYU/Arizona