COUGAR TRACKS

BYU Vs. Stanford: Game Day Preview Plus Score Prediction

Nov 26, 2022, 12:01 AM
BYU/Stanford, Jaren Hall...
BYU QB Jaren Hall leads the Cougars into the regular-season finale against Stanford. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

STANFORD, Calif. – On a weekend of conference races being decided and rivalry games, BYU/Stanford closes out the final full weekend of the 2022 college football season.

There isn’t much on the line in this game. BYU, an FBS Independent, is 6-5 and has already clinched bowl eligibility. Stanford has navigated through another disappointing season as they enter the season finale at 3-8.

But despite this game not impacting the national landscape, it could be a matchup that provides some classic “Pac-12 After Dark” entertainment.

BYU vs Stanford

Kickoff: 9 p.m. (MT)

TV: FS1

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM – Pregame begins at 7 p.m.)

Now it’s time for the 3-2-1 game preview for today’s matchup between BYU and Stanford.

Three Game Day Thoughts

1. BYU feels engaged for this one

There have been many games in the Kalani Sitake era where BYU has left people wondering if they cared to show up. However, the vibe around BYU entering tonight’s game against Stanford has been good.

BYU players are bought into the storyline of getting the first victory ever against Stanford. The Cardinal hold a 2-0 lead all-time against BYU. In addition, they are the only school in the Pac-12 Conference that BYU has never defeated, which feels to have provided a little motivation heading into this matchup.

On the other sideline, Stanford head coach David Shaw admits his team is in a “hard spot” after falling to rival Cal last week and not having a bowl game as motivation this weekend.

2. Jaren Hall should have another big night

In the last two games, Jaren Hall has put together career-high performances. He’s finally healthy from the shoulder pain that bothered him throughout October.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jaren Hall (@jarenhall3)

The expectation shouldn’t be another career-high day. Still, against a Stanford defense that is 111th nationally in total defense this season, there’s no reason to think Hall shouldn’t have a lot of success both through the air and on the ground against the Cardinal. During his BYU career, Hall has produced nine 300-yard passing games. I could see the 10th coming against the Cardinal tonight.

Through 11 games this season, Hall has passed for 3,078 yards, completed 29 touchdowns, and tossed only six interceptions.

3. Stanford’s Senior Day will have some Utah flair

Stanford is holding its Senior Day tonight against BYU. The Cardinal will recognize all 28 players in their senior class. Two of those 28 will include a pair of student-athletes who call Utah home.

That would be LBs Levani Damuni from Ridgeline High and Spencer Jorgensen from Provo. Damuni has family ties to the BYU football staff, including his uncle, Jack Damuni.

In total, Stanford has three players from the state of Utah on its 2022 roster. The other player is Scotty Edwards, a former Olympus High player that BYU recruited.

Two BYU vs Stanford Questions

1. Will the BYU defense make Stanford’s offense look potent?

The battle between BYU’s defense and Stanford’s offense is intriguing. Stanford hasn’t scored 30 points against an FBS team since October 16, 2021. So it’s been a long time for the Cardinal.

BYU’s defense has made progress this month, especially against Boise State, where they made the necessary fourth down to secure the win. But as they showed against Utah Tech, they are suspect of giving up the big plays.

Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee is a big storyline coming into this game. McKee was a top priority for BYU in its 2018 recruiting class efforts. After BYU finished 4-9 in 2017, McKee, who’s LDS, ended up signing with the Cardinal.

BYU coach Kalani Sitake said he sees NFL qualities in McKee, who has completed 60% of his passes this season. McKee has only passed 12 touchdowns this year, and he’s had eight interceptions. BYU’s secondary struggled against Utah Tech last week. I’m sure there’s some extra motivation for McKee to perform well in this game.

2. How small is the crowd going to be?

I’m here in Palo Alto for the first time. It’s a beautiful town. But the people around here have no idea there’s a football game on Saturday night.

On my flight to San Francisco, there were a solid number of BYU fans. In addition, a handful of future BYU players who are greyshirting this season were also on the plane ride. Those included Ace Kaufusi, Maika Kaufusi, and Kyle Vassau.

So, I expect a strong gathering of royal blue in the crowd. After all, there was an offer to get free tickets through the free trial promotion Stanford offered. You have to think BYU fans gobbled up some of that action.

But outside of Cougar fans, I’d be surprised if many Stanford fans aren’t family members of the departing Stanford senior class in attendance tonight.

One score prediction for BYU vs Stanford

BYU should be in control throughout this entire game. But I could see the Cardinal tacking on a late touchdown to make the score closer than it felt.

BYU has never been a team that blows its competition out of the water with a wide margin of victories. I see BYU winning this game between eight to nine points and closing out the regular season with its first victory in program history over the Cardinal.

BYU 30, Stanford 21

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 Mitch’s BYU/Stanford coverage from The Farm on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Vs. Stanford: Game Day Preview Plus Score Prediction