BYU football is back. Our staff predicts BYU-Arizona.
Joe put out his complete preview earlier today. Check it out here. Below is his prediction from his BYU-Arizona preview.
By all accounts, at least off the field, Jedd Fisch has been the right hire for Arizona. He’s been an infusion of life into a program with a proud fanbase who has been waiting over 2 years for a product on the field they can be excited about. He’s brought beloved alumni back into the program and is building a very promising 2022 recruiting class that features multiple 4-star athletes. Unfortunately, none of those individuals will be able to help Arizona come Saturday.
Arizona is going to have a difficult time moving the ball with not one, but two inexperienced quarterbacks and an offensive line who ranked 119th in sacks allowed a year ago. This may be the deepest cornerback room BYU has ever had, allowing BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki the freedom to be more aggressive than he has been in years past with his talented stable of linebackers.
On the flip side of the ball, BYU historically struggles on offense in opening games, eclipsing 30 points just once in the Kalani Sitake era. This, however, is an offense that will look a lot more like the 2020 BYU model than any other version we’ve seen. BYU returns a thousand-yard rusher in Tyler Allgeier and a tight end in Isaac Rex who both scored more touchdowns in 2020 than Arizona’s entire roster combined.
On defense, Arizona’s creative blitzing scheme will force BYU QB Jaren Hall into quick decision making. If he can efficiently get the ball into the hands of his playmakers on the outside this could get ugly fast. If BYUs front struggles to hold the line, Arizona will be able to stick around longer than expected. The issue here is that to successfully run the high-pressure scheme Don Brown wants to run at Arizona, he will need to play mostly man coverage. On paper, Arizona does not have enough bodies to man up on Neil Pauu, Gunner Romney, Puka Nacua, Dallin Holker, Isaac Rex, and Tyler Allgeier, all of whom have shown they can play at a high level on big stages.
In short, if you’re looking to make some money this weekend on your trip to Vegas, I would put your money on the Cougs. BYU will likely start slow while they adapt to Arizona’s new look systems, but adjustments will be made, and BYUs physicality will weigh on Arizona allowing the Cougars to pull away in the third quarter.
BYU 31 -13 Arizona
This one, in my opinion, is pretty straightforward. BYU will win if they take care of the football and protect Jaren Hall. However, I believe Arizona will keep the game close in the first half.
Opening games are nearly impossible to predict. Historically, BYU has struggled to put up a lot of points in season openers. I think some promising drives will stall and BYU will have to settle for a few field goals. BYU should be able to keep Arizona's offense, that will be led by two unproven quarterbacks, in check.
BYU 27 - 17 Arizona