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BYU Football Left To Evaluate Everything After Blowout Loss To Oregon

Sep 17, 2022, 6:55 PM
BYU Football, Kalani Sitake, Oregon...
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake watches the end of the game at Autzen Stadium in Eugene on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

EUGENE, Ore. – BYU football falling to Oregon, 41-20, on Saturday was a top-to-bottom loss.

There’s not one area where BYU failed; it was simply a case of Oregon being a better team with elite athletes ready from the opening kick.

“Obviously not the result that we were looking for, but I have to give a lot of credit to Oregon. They showed up ready to play. More ready than we did, especially in the beginning,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake. “I didn’t have this team ready; that’s on me. We have to figure out a way to start better and start faster.”

BYU football struggled from the opening kick against Oregon

BYU’s offense had an opening play that included a 35-yard reception to Chase Roberts. But then it was downhill from there.

BYU went for it on fourth down on the opening series and had a turnover on downs. Oregon’s offense led by former Auburn QB Bo Nix jumped on BYU’s shorthanded defense that was without defensive ends Tyler Batty and Earl Tuioti-Mariner.

Nix led Oregon down the field for a touchdown on the opening series and away the Ducks went from there.

A former five-star recruit, Nix finished the game with 222 passing yards on 13-of-18 for two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He ended with a QBR of 212.5.

It was a humbling setback for a BYU defense that, a week ago, matched the physicality of defending Big 12 Champion Baylor in the trenches. But, in Autzen Stadium, BYU was making uncharacteristic mistakes and missing tackles, amplified by a Ducks squad that was motivated to prove they are a lot better than what they showed two weeks ago in a 46-point loss to Georgia in Atlanta.

BYU will be evaluating everything moving forward

But the defense isn’t the only one that shoulders blame for this loss. BYU’s offense had a non-existent ground attack, and the special teams didn’t fare much better. Kicker Jake Oldroyd missed his third consecutive field goal dating back to last week’s two game-winning opportunities against Baylor.

“Everything has to be evaluated for us,” said Sitake after the loss. “We have to find out where the deficiencies were in every aspect of our game. Whether it’s coaching, players, or personnel, whatever it is, I just want to make sure that we can get right back to where we can be and make sure that we’re right for our next game.”

Oregon was up 38-7 with 4:30 remaining in the third quarter. First-year head coach Dan Lanning sat Bo Nix for what looked like the end of his big day.

To BYU’s credit, they kept fighting. When Oregon had backup QB Ty Thompson in the game BYU’s starters against Oregon backups got the Cougars within 18 points. BYU linebacker Ben Bywater hauled in his first career interception and wide receiver Kody Epps had his first career touchdown, causing Nix to return in the fourth quarter with 10:30 left.

Once Nix returned, the Ducks put together a time of possession that spanned 8:23 of game clock to close out the game for good.

Oregon finished with 439 yards of total offense and had a near 50/50 split in production. The Ducks had 227 passing yards and 212 rushing yards. They also were a perfect 7-of-7 in the red zone to BYU, who converted on 66% of their three red zone visits.

Oregon wanted to be “the more physical team”

Entering the game, Oregon didn’t have a clear-cut star at running back as they played a handful of guys. However, the lack of a star didn’t matter as three of Oregon’s ball carriers averaged more than five yards per carry.

“We came out to this game and said, ‘we want to be the more physical team.’ I think we were that,” said Oregon coach Dan Lanning. “We wanted to win critical situations and we were good on fourth down. Able to stop them and get ours when we had opportunities to go for it. We wanted to outrush our opponent. I think that’s a brand of physicality that we were able to show.”

BYU finished with 366 yards of offense, 305 coming through the air, and only 61 yards were on the ground.

“Overall, we did not do a good enough job to win that game. That’s from the players and coaches, and everyone, including myself as the head coach,” said Sitake. “We didn’t seem like we were ready from the get-go. So that’s something I have to evaluate and something I have to improve on.”

BYU falls to 2-1 on the season and will return to action next Saturday when they host 3-1 Wyoming at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m.

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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