Instant Takeaways From BYU Football’s Loss To Arkansas

Oct 15, 2022, 5:25 PM | Updated: Oct 17, 2022, 2:39 pm

PROVO, Utah – BYU football falls to the Arkansas Razorbacks, 52 to 35. The loss drops BYU’s record to 4-3 on the year, while the Razorbacks improve to 4-3 and end a three-game losing streak.

Now that the final horn has gone off, here are some instant takeaways from BYU’s setback.

BYU’s defense lacks any identity

For the detractors of BYU’s Ilaisa Tuiaki and Ed Lamb, Saturday’s performance against the Hogs is only going to embolden folks that are underwhelmed with what’s happening on the defensive side of the ball for BYU.

After seeing BYU’s defense give up more than 600 yards of offense, that’s only fair to feel upset.

The BYU defense got off to a strong start on Saturday, forcing a takeaway and then causing the Hogs to punt. But it was all downhill from there. Arkansas scored on their next eight possessions. The next stop for BYU’s defense came with 27 seconds remaining in the game on a goal line stand, which was too little too late.

Center exchange miscues were costly

BYU had two center exchange issues during the game, plus a high snap in shotgun formation. In the second quarter, on a 4th and inches was the most costly exchange as it prevented BYU from moving the chains and gave Arkansas the ball in BYU territory.

That swung the momentum in favor of the Razorbacks from that point forward.

Puka Nacua is the ultimate playmaker 

When BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua is healthy, he is the ultimate playmaker. Anytime he touches the ball, there’s a belief and the potential that he could score. He’s one of the best talents BYU has ever had come through the program at the wide receiver position.

Whether it’s in the receiving game, the ground, or blocking downfield, Nacua can do it all.

Third down defense dooms BYU again

During the third quarter, with BYU trailing 38-35, Arkansas faced a 3rd & 10 on its own 25-yard line. They called a timeout after BYU fans were getting loud at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Coming out of the timeout, KJ Jefferson calmly completed a pass to Ketron Jackson Jr. for a first down.

That was a critical opportunity for BYU’s defense to get off the field and give the ball back to BYU’s offense. But they couldn’t get the stop. Arkansas converted two more third downs on the drive that resulted in a touchdown and kept BYU at bay by 10 points.

The following drive for BYU’s offense, they were held to a three-and-out, which then led to Arkansas delivering a knockout blow with a 64-yard Raheim Sanders touchdown run.

Jaren Hall’s shoulder is something to monitor going forward

At the end of the second quarter, BYU quarterback Jaren Hall took a hard hit on his throwing shoulder. The same shoulder that was banged up during the Utah State game two weeks ago and prevented him from playing at his best against Notre Dame.

During the ESPN broadcast of BYU/Arkansas, sideline reporter Tom Luginbill reported that Kalani Sitake told him that Hall was “limited in the throws he can make.”

Once the adrenaline wears off, what will Hall’s shoulder look like? It’s something to monitor going forward. Hall was a big reason that BYU was able to go blow for blow with the Hogs until the fourth quarter. He’s vital to BYU’s success for the remainder of the season.

Concerns at kicker roll on

After not missing an extra point since the Utah game last year, BYU has had two consecutive weeks where they’ve missed PATs. Justen Smith was the kicker on both of those attempts.

After Smith’s PAT attempt on Saturday went off the upright, BYU switched to Jake Oldroyd to attempt BYU’s PATs the rest of the game.

Lifting schedule didn’t change the struggles in the daytime

BYU football changed their lifting schedule to early morning lifts this week in preparation for today’s 1:30 p.m. kickoff. It didn’t change things as BYU has now lost their last five games that kickoff at 1:30 p.m. Next week’s kick time against Liberty? 1:30 p.m. (MT).

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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