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Five BYU Football Players To Watch During Baylor Game

Oct 15, 2021, 12:09 AM
BYU Football - Lopini Katoa...
Brigham Young Cougars running back Lopini Katoa (4) rushes during the Vegas Kickoff Classic in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

WACO, Texas – The BYU Football team heads out to Texas for a tilt with future Big 12 Conference foe Baylor on Saturday. It has the makings to be a good football game between a pair of 5-1 teams.

BYU comes into this contest looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss to Boise State last Saturday, spoiling their undefeated season hopes.

Baylor has seen a massive turnaround in year two under head coach Dave Aranda. Last season in a year zero amidst COVID-19, Aranda’s team won only two games. This year, they are one more win away from reaching bowl eligibility.

BYU Football players to watch against Baylor

The BYU-Baylor game kicks off at 1:30 p.m. (MT) on ESPN. Radio coverage begins at 10 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. To get you ready for this sneak peek at BYU’s future conference home, here are five players from BYU that you should be on the lookout for during the game.

Jaren Hall, Quarterback

Hall was the least of BYU’s worries during last week’s loss against Boise State. He clearly wasn’t at 100%, but he still managed a career-high in passing yards. The only problem was that he didn’t look run at all. BYU’s offense takes flight when Hall can showcase his dual-threat ability through the air and on the ground.

Earlier this week, BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said that Hall is “completely healthy and ready to roll” now. If that’s the case, look for Hall to occasionally run out of the pocket to improvise against a Baylor defense that will look to put Hall under a lot of pressure.

Puka Nacua, Wide Receiver

As each game goes by, Puka Nacua seems to be getting better within this BYU offense. Whether it’s as a receiver, coming out of the backfield on jet sweeps, or getting downfield and blocking for his teammates, Nacua is a talented football player who is just scratching the surface of his potential at BYU.

“What really is great about him is the motor that he plays with. He’s never tired; he plays hard every snap. He practices hard every day. We have to calm him down at practice. Those types of guys are rare,” said BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick.

Nacua loves the big stages and invites the one-on-one battles to come his way. He will go up against a Baylor attack that is 15th nationally in passing yards allowed per game with 175. Jaren Hall will need his talented receivers to come up big in this game; this could be the perfect spot for Nacua to take off.

Lopini Katoa, Running Back

Last week, Lopini Katoa had an uncharacteristic two-fumble game. The performance opened the door for third-string running back Jackson McChesney to get snaps late in the loss against Boise State. That was the first time McChesney saw action.

Coaches throughout the week have expressed they still have confidence in Katoa and Allgeier, who also had a fumble. How does Katoa respond? Will the door be opened for McChesney to get more playing time, or does the veteran bounce back from that tough performance a week ago?

Tyler Batty, Defensive End

Since his week one performance against Arizona that saw him record a sack, Batty has been limited to around 32 snaps per game. He missed the USF game altogether on September 25.

It’s taken some time for Batty to get used to being a key target on opposing team scouting reports. Still, he’s due for a breakout performance this week, especially going up against a Baylor team that he has an idea of what to expect from their offensive line.

When Batty arrived home from serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the potential for him has always been to be one of the next great pass rushers for BYU football. What better week in Big 12 country than to show that skillset once again?

Chaz Ah You, Linebacker

Ah You has three games under his belt at linebacker. There’s been a little bit of an adjustment period for the former four-star recruit. But now, he feels settled into the role. With guys such as Payton Wilgar, Ben Bywater, and Max Tooley around him, it’s a talented linebacking unit even without captain Keenan Pili.

Baylor has a two-running back system and explosive playmakers at receiver. It will be interesting to see how BYU utilizes Ah You’s talents against a Baylor offensive attack that has no shortage of confidence at the midway point of the season.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Five BYU Football Players To Watch During Baylor Game