Instant Takeaways From BYU’s Season-Opening Win At USF

Sep 3, 2022, 7:53 PM
BYU quarterback Jaren Hall (Courtesy of BYU Photo)
(Courtesy of BYU Photo)

TAMPA, FL. – No. 25 BYU football took care of business in dominating fashion against USF. BYU defeated the Bulls at Raymond James Stadium, 50-21.

It was an impressive start to the 2022 season for a BYU team coming off back-to-back double-digit win seasons over the previous two years.

Here are some instant takeaways from BYU’s win that improves them to 1-0 on the young season.

BYU came out like lightning

The weather in the Tampa area caused a two-hour delay, and it began moments before BYU players and coaches were ready to take the field. Lightning was what started the delay, then it was rain, and two hours later, the teams were on the field.

BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick was asked by KSL Sports earlier in the week if the coaching staff had a plan for weather delays. He said they had discussed what they would do in that situation.

Well, the preparations were top-notch. BYU was dialed in from the opening snap.

Just like the weather, BYU came out to open the 2022 season like lightning. On the first snap of the game, BYU QB Jaren Hall handed the ball off to wide receiver Puka Nacua on a jet sweep. Nacua took the ball 75 yards for an opening play touchdown.

The start had shades of BYU’s season-opening east coast trip two years ago against Navy.

Kickoff coverage was a glaring issue

USF’s two touchdowns in the third quarterback can trace back to blown coverages by BYU’s special teams on kick coverage. The Bulls opened the third quarter with an 89-yard return by Jimmy Horn Jr. that he took to the house for a score.

Then with less than six minutes remaining in the third quarter, USF’s Brian Battie returned a Jake Oldroyd kick 38 yards to the Bulls’ 42-yard line. Seven plays later, USF put together a touchdown drive.

BYU’s defense was stout throughout the game

BYU starting defensive end Tyler Batty told KSL Sports before the season began that the BYU defense “wanted to make their presence felt.” After seeing what occurred over the last 60 minutes, USF felt what BYU’s defense was putting down.

It wasn’t a defensive performance filled with sacks, takeaways, or explosive plays. But they were technically sound. They didn’t miss tackles, and they did what Ilaisa Tuiaki expects out of his defense, each player delivering their one/eleventh.

No one will be ready to say BYU’s defense has arrived after what they saw against a weak USF team. But they deserve some respect for the suffocating placed over a USF offense led by Baylor transfer Gerry Bohanon that gave the Cougar defense issues a year ago.

Record-setting first quarter under Kalani Sitake

BYU put up 28 points in the first quarter against the Bulls. That was the most points scored by a BYU team coached by Kalani Sitake. The previous high by a Sitake-coached team was 21 points.

Jaren Hall got everyone involved in the passing game

The great BYU offenses of the 80s and early 90s always were well known for having games where 10 or more receivers were hauling in passes. Well, BYU starter Jaren Hall gave Cougar fans a blast from the past as 12 different receivers.

It highlighted how deep BYU’s receiver and tight end rooms go. Plus, it showcases the running backs that BYU will utilize in the passing attack this year.

Experience doesn’t always guarantee success

BYU entered the 2022 season in the top five of most experience lists in college football. Another team that was among the top five was USF.

The Bulls were in the top five of ESPN’s returning metrics, yet you would have never guessed that on Saturday night.

BYU was the team that was operating at a high level. USF brought in a bunch of transfers over the offseason that had experience at their previous stops. Still, it’s a warning that you can’t guarantee immediate success by overhauling your roster through the portal.

Chris Brooks is filling Tyler Allgeier’s shoes nicely

Christopher Brooks, the 6-foot-1, 230-pound running back from Cal, showed he’s ready for the spotlight left behind by Tyler Allgeier. In his BYU debut, Brooks had a 52-yard rushing touchdown up the middle. He showcased his speed which made him a coveted transfer portal prospect for BYU’s coaching staff.

BYU’s offense will be aggressive in 2022

Early in the first quarter, BYU’s offense faced a fourth and short in their own territory. At no point did BYU even flinch. Quarterback Jaren Hall stayed on the field and BYU was able to pick up the first down.

BYU coach Kalani Sitake said he wanted Hall and the BYU offense to take “calculated risks” this season. The fifth-year quarterback appears to have the utmost confidence from his coaches.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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