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Puka Nacua Among Observations From BYU Loss At Baylor

Oct 16, 2021, 6:07 PM
BYU takes the field at Baylor...
BYU takes the field at Baylor (courtesy of BYU photo)
(courtesy of BYU photo)

PROVO, Utah – The 19th ranked BYU football team struggled at the line of scrimmage in loss to the Baylor Bears losing 38-24.

Former BYU offensive Coordinator Jeff Grimes helped the Bears put up 534 yards of offense on the Cougar defense.

They ran 20 more plays than the Cougar offense and possessed the football for over 35 minutes.

Jaren Hall was electric in his second game back from injury. He threw for 342 yards, a career high.

The play of the game was his RPO running touchdown on fourth and one in the third quarter.

He completed 71 percent of his passes while throwing a touchdown late on the final drive. He did have a costly fumble in third quarter.

More on that sequence below in my observations from a loss in Big 12 country.

1. BYU football run defense problems

For the second consecutive week, BYU was beaten handily at the line of the scrimmage.

The Bears outgained the Cougars on the ground by 236 yards.

BYU won’t win many football games with a disparity like that on the ground.

Losing Keenan Pili to injury has proven to be more costly than I originally thought.

Ben Bywater, Payton Wilgar, Max Tooley and Chaz Ah You have played great this season, but Pili was one of the teams best defensive players, especially in run defense.

Let’s not forget he amassed 17 tackles in the opener against Arizona.

Baylor averaged 6.4 yards per carry. That was three times the number BYU averaged and that included a 56 yard touchdown run by Jaren Hall.

Defensive adjustments need to be made to solve this problem.

2. Offense line woes

BYU had outstanding line play in 2020.

Through the first four weeks of 2021, the offensive line was a key component to wins over three PAC-12 teams and South Florida.

There’s no doubt that injuries have played a role, but the current crop of lineman have to play better if BYU is going to win the remaining P5 games on the schedule.

On several plays, Baylor defensive lineman pressured Jaren Hall with minimal resistance.

Freshman tackle Campbell Barrington missed his block badly on a play in the third quarter that resulted in a Jaren Hall fumble.

BYU was in scoring position before the turnover.

Harris LaChance, the starter at the right tackle position, was hopeful to play against the Bears.

They’ll need him back quickly. Depth was an issue going into the season, and we are seeing why.

3. Puka Nacua deep threat

One of the positive notes from the loss in Waco was wide receiver Puka Nacua.

He’s getting more involved in the passing game, and Jaren Hall is looking his way frequently.

Nacua was targeted eight times hauling five receptions for 168 yards.

He’s become one of the elite deep threats in all of college football.

The final touchdown of the game was a thing of beauty. Hall threw a perfect back shoulder pass that allowed Nacua to get both feet in bounds for the score.

I love watching Nacua slap his helmet after making a big play.

Enjoy this group of receivers BYU fans. This is the best wide receiver play the program has ever seen.

Unfortunately a NY6 bowl game is out of the picture now for BYU football. However, a 10 win season is still in play which would a remarkable feat for a group that lost so many players from last year.

You can hear Matt Baiamonte every Saturday on KSL Newsradio for Cougar Sports Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. or you can find him on Twitter here.

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