Three Storylines That Could Determine Winner of BYU vs. Baylor

Oct 15, 2021, 10:46 AM
Jaren Hall - BYU Football QB...
Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3) delivers a pass as BYU and Utah play an NCAA football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah –  BYU hopes to bounce back this week against the Baylor Bears. The Cougars travel to Waco, Texas to play a future Big 12 conference foe with some familiar faces. After facing the first true adversity of the season, how will BYU respond?

BYU vs. Baylor

McLane Stadium will be a packed house on Saturday afternoon in a matchup that could become a future rivalry. Both teams enter the game 5-1, with Baylor’s only loss coming to a ranked Oklahoma State team.

The Jeff Grimes’ led offense will look familiar to Cougar fans, the former BYU offensive coordinator has brought his tough style to Waco. Here are three storylines that could determine the winner of BYU vs. Baylor.

Three Storylines for BYU vs. Baylor

1) Battle of Great Quarterbacks

Jaren Hall returned against Boise State and played well in the loss. Hall completed 22 of 37 passes for 302 yards, a touchdown and a late-game interception that sealed the game. It was clear Hall wasn’t 100%, he didn’t attack the defense with his legs as we saw in the first three games of the season.

The hope is that Hall will be back to full health this week. The Cougars will need him ready to go and able to contribute on the ground if they hope to win on Saturday.

Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon has been excellent this season, completing 66% of his passes and accounting for 17 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

In his first season as the Bears starting quarterback, Bohanon has kept the offense moving and taken care of the ball. However, this BYU defense may be the best this Baylor team has faced all season.

Great quarterback play has helped both teams get off to hot starts this season. Which quarterback can keep the offense moving and limit turnovers in this game?

2) Red Zone Scoring

Both offenses have been ultra-efficient in the red zone this season. The Bears and Cougars are scoring on 91% of their drives into the red zone, who can maintain that efficiency on Saturday?

The BYU defense is tied for 48th in red zone defense so far, allowing a touchdown on just 45% of opponents trips inside the 20. The Baylor defense has struggled a bit more, tied for 94th in red zone defense. Opponents have scored touchdowns on 61% of their drives into the red zone.

The Cougars are known for their “bend-don’t-break” defense, but they haven’t faced an offense this talented since the win against Arizona State. Both teams will need to take advantage of red zone opportunities, let’s see which defense can hold strong with their backs against the wall.

3) Pound the Rock

Both teams want to run the ball and dominate the line of scrimmage. Former BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes left Provo to join Baylor this offseason and brought with him offensive line coach Eric Mateos.

The Baylor Bears are 16th in rushing offense, averaging 227.5 yards per game. The offensive line bulldozes opposing defenses and the tandem of Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner make them pay. Both running backs are averaging over six yards a carry this season.

The offensive gameplan hasn’t changed much for BYU in 2021, despite a new face at offensive coordinator. Aaron Roderick and this Cougar offense wants to run the ball with one of college football’s best running backs Tyler Allgeier.

Allgeier is 11th in the nation in rushing yards and tied for 11th in rushing touchdowns. After two fumbles last week by Lopini Katoa, we may see more playing time for third-string back Jackson McChesney. The return of fullback/tight end Masen Wake should make a big difference for the Cougars.

This is a classic battle at the line of scrimmage. We may see a high-scoring affair with some big plays on Saturday, but this game will be won in the trenches.

BYU vs. Baylor takes place in Waco, Texas at McLane Stadium on October 16th. Pre-game coverage begins at 10 a.m. (MDT) on KSL NewsRadio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. (MDT).

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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