Instant Takeaways From BYU’s Blowout Loss To Liberty

Oct 22, 2022, 5:39 PM
BYU/Liberty, Takeaways...
BYU falls to Liberty 41 to 14 in Lynchburg, Virginia. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY – BYU football suffered one of the worst losses in the Kalani Sitake era on Saturday against Liberty.

On a week where changes on defense were promised, the only difference was that things got worse from the Arkansas game disaster a week ago.

BYU lost to Liberty, 41 to 14.

Here are some instant takeaways from the debacle in Lynchburg, Va.

Despite changes on defense, the execution was disastrous

A lot was made about the changes that would take place on the defensive side of the ball for BYU. There were some tweaks, but it didn’t matter.

Liberty had a field day with BYU’s defense, crushing the Cougars from start to finish. The Flames racked up 547 yards of offense and was nearly a perfect balance of run and pass. Liberty piled up 300 rushing yards and had 247 yards passing with a backup quarterback.

Staff dismissals shouldn’t be ruled out

It’s not common for BYU to make firings in-season, but after a loss to a Liberty team that barely beat Gardner-Webb a week ago, nothing should be off the table.

Keep in mind that BYU was favored by a touchdown coming into Saturday’s game. To lose by 27 to a team five years ago was an FCS program is shocking for a BYU team with loads of experience both with personnel and on the coaching staff.

The coaching staff, especially on the defensive staff, recruited these players. To have these results is a shocking turn of events.

Kalani Sitake has tough decisions in front of him. If he continues to keep the coaches as currently constructed, he’s saying it’s a talent problem.

BYU’s offense wasn’t much better

After a first quarter that saw BYU score 14 points, the offense was held scoreless for the last three quarters. Liberty’s defense is one of the best in the nation, statistically.

But for BYU’s offense, led by quarterback Jaren Hall to be held scoreless for three quarters was another shocking turn of events.

Some of the decisions by BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick were head-scratching. In the second quarter, on 3rd & 10, BYU opted to hand the ball off to Puka Nacua near midfield. That play was short of the first down marker, and BYU settled for a punt.

The aggressive play-calling needed to be there for BYU’s offense in a game where BYU’s defense was being gashed. It wasn’t, which was surprising.

BYU’s ground attack was non-existent, and it became more of a non-factor after Chris Brooks reportedly received medical attention from trainers.

The offense finished with 258 yards, 187 through the air, and 71 on the ground.

It feels like a rock bottom moment for BYU

A team once ranked as high as No. 12 in the AP Top 25 is now in a spot where they will fight for bowl eligibility. Unfortunately, there is no game outside of Utah Tech that you can assume BYU will win at this point.

Puka Nacua was vocal in the postgame locker room to rally the team, but it feels like the season is done for BYU. Whether they win six games or eight, they are going to a bowl game that won’t hold much significance. So what gets BYU to rally the troops and get the season back on track? Right now, it feels like the season can’t get any lower, as it’s a rock bottom moment for a BYU squad that had lofty expectations coming into the season.

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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