WHAT. A. NIGHT. BYU defeated its second-straight ranked opponent and third-straight P5 foe on Saturday night against ASU. The time has come to look back and reflect on BYU’s performance. Here are my nine takeaways from the game.
1. BYU is consistently inconsistent
Each game this season has followed the same format. BYU struggles to move the ball, looks like the Kansas City Chiefs in the second quarter, gives up 10 unanswered in the third quarter, and imposes their will on the ground in the fourth quarter to put the game away. The ceiling is absurdly high on this team. BYU has outscored opponents 41-10 in the second quarter, and if that team can be channeled more consistently, this could be a special season.
2. Defensive dominance on Daniels
I said in my preview that a game that forces Jayden Daniels to throw is a game that favors BYU, and that’s exactly what happened. After getting torched on the first drive of the game on a 6-man blitz, BYU settled into the zone scheme we’ve become accustomed to. Following that drive, BYU held Daniels to 18/26 passing for 184 yards and 2 INTs and the usually potent ASU offense to 17 points.
3. Welcome back tight ends
Hope you didn’t forget about these guys because ASU sure seemed to. The duo of Isaac Rex and Dallin Holker combined for 4 catches for 58 yards, and Rex caught two touchdowns including the game clincher.
4. Air Wake
You want to know how I know BYU opponents don’t watch enough film? They keep trying to go low on Masen Wake. Once Hall dumped the ball off to wake in the flat, we all knew what was coming and it somehow how exceeded expectations. As Wake soared, so did the crowd’s energy, making it one of the sneaky big plays of the night.
5. BYU linebackers are elite
If one play could sum up BYU’s linebacking corps, it would be Max Tooley’s interception late in the second half. Payton Wilgar popped the receiver, which popped the ball into the air into the diving arms of Max Tooley. These linebackers are mean, fast, aggressive, and have a nose for the football. The linebackers made up three of BYU’s top four tacklers in the game and held Jayden Daniels to an uncharacteristic 8 yards on 10 carries. Losing Keenan Pili to an ACL injury is devastating for BYU, but BYU gave up just 66 yards and 0 points on the final 3 drives of the game after he went down. BYU’s backers will be fine.
6. Tyler Allgeier is the soul of this BYU team
Late in the 3rd quarter I sent the following tweet:
The answer to my inquiry was Tyler Allgeier. So often, this team goes as he goes. If BYU can put together a special season, his chase down strip of Merlin Robertson will go down as one of the greatest plays in the history of BYU football and was emblematic of what this BYU team is about. He wasn’t done there. Following that play, he had 6 carries for 41 yards to finish the game, which allowed BYU the ability to chew up the clock and put the game away. He was my MVP.
7. BYU’s QB Room is an embarrassment of riches
Let me start with this, Jaren Hall is a warrior. After appearing to injure himself against Utah, he turned in a gutsy performance, throwing for 214 yards and 2 TDs and adding 38 yards on the ground. When BYU needed a first down, Jaren Hall was able to get it done, whether it be a 17-yard dart to Gunner Romney on 3rd and 9 or a 13-yard dash on 2nd and 12 to put BYU inside the 5 with two minutes to go. Then once Jaren went down with an injury, and despite not being able to warm up, backup QB and BYU legend Baylor Romney showed that the only thing cold about him was the ice water in his veins. His 4-yard dime to Isaac Rex was the throw of the year and showed that no matter who is taking snaps, BYU’s offense is in good hands.
8. Built upon the ROC
Here’s a stat. The ROC was 6th on the team in total yards after forcing six false starts, one illegal motion, and two timeouts from ASU. There is a viral clip of the Penn State student section forcing Michigan to take a time out before even taking a snap because of the noise. What the ROC did on Saturday to force four false starts in nine plays was even better. I have never seen a crowd unravel an offense to the point where they forgot how to play football. It was incredible. So, thank you ROC. Thank you for making Lavell Edwards Stadium an abyss where opposing offenses go to die.
9. BYU just keeps winning
There really isn’t a stat I can point to show you how good this BYU team is, because none of them do it justice. They are 71st in scoring offense, 107th in total offense, 22nd in scoring defense, and 88th in total defense. Still, BYU has yet to trail. Why? BYU is nails when it counts. For the third-straight game, BYU looked at the other sideline and said, “You know exactly what we are going to do, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.” BYU has possessed the ball 28 out 45 fourth quarter minutes. That says worlds about BYU’s mental toughness and the winning culture Kalani Sitake has instilled in this program. This BYU team has been far from perfect, but they get it done when it counts, and that is why this season could be special.