The weekend brought some more insights into the future of the BYU football team.
After strangling Utah State 34-20 on Friday night, BYU announced on Saturday it would wear all-navy uniforms for Saturday’s showdown against rival Boise State, with navy helmets for the first time since 2004.
The game will start at 1:30 p.m., be televised nationally on ABC, and mark the first time the Cougars (5-0) and Broncos (2-3) have played during the day in one of their 12 matchups. Boise State leads the series 7-4, but BYU has won the last two contests, including last year’s 51-17 loss on blue turf in Boise, Idaho.
BYU went from No. 13 to No. 10 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll on Sunday, and from No. 15 to No. 10 in the USA Today Coaches poll.
So now attention turns to the bigger question surrounding Saturday’s game, at least from the Cougars’ perspective: who will start as quarterback for BYU?
Jaren Hall, who won the three-way starting quarterback derby in fall camp, has not played since suffering rib bruises in the dying minutes of the 27-17 win over State Arizona, now ranked 22nd, on September 18. the obvious choice if he is in good health.
Hall wanted to play against the Aggies, just like he wanted to play against South Florida on September 25, but was selected because the team’s medical staff didn’t think he was quite ready.
“Jaren is about to play,” coach Kalani Sitake said Friday night after Baylor Romney and Jacob Conover played a half each in the battle for the old wagon wheel. “He trained, but we didn’t feel like he was good enough yet. We felt like Baylor had a better week of training so we’re just going to feel it and figure out what’s best for the player, No.1, and then what’s good for our team.
Romney watched rookie Conover shut down the Aggies in the second half after completing 15 of 19 passes for 187 yards and a first-half touchdown. He received a free kick from USU linebacker Justin Rice as he attempted his final first-half throw in which his header hit the playing surface hard at Maverik Stadium.
“Obviously he couldn’t get back into the game,” Sitake said. “We have to protect him and keep him safe. Thank goodness for Jacob Conover (being ready to win the game in the second half).
Sitake said the Cougars “were hoping to get Baylor back” for the Boise State game, but the clutch save clearly suffered concussion symptoms as a result.
He wore heavy sunglasses as the team celebrated the victory under bright lights at Maverik Stadium on Friday night, suggesting he is already on concussion protocol.
“We had to play with some of our depth,” Sitake said. “The guys stepped up and made a lot of big plays and I’m really grateful that our players and our coaches stepped up and got us to the win.”
Conover got off to a rocky start, toppling Gunner Romney and Neil Pau’u with his first two assists as a college kid in his first 3-game football.1??2 years. BYU went to three and out on his first three possessions of the second half with Conover in the quarterback.
However, the fourth half-time practice began with a 15-yard run at Romnney and a 9-yard run at Pau’u and continued with a 16-yard pass and run to game star Tyler Allgeier. . It ended with a 32-yard field goal that gave BYU a 27-13 lead.
“Oh, we trust him,” Sitake said of Conover. “I mean, he knows it. We trust him for everything in the playbook. … We trust him to be a quarterback and not just to hand the ball over, although that’s what we did towards the end because we were trying to set the time and milk him. “
Sitake said Conover “did a good job making adjustments and checks on the line of scrimmage” and handled the boisterous atmosphere as well as you might expect.
“My teammates and coaches trusted me,” said Conover. “I trusted them, and it was like a big family moving and rolling. … I know the coach (Aaron Roderick) trusts all of us. He trusts Baylor and Jared and me and Sol-Jay (Maiava-Peters). And he doesn’t skip a beat – offense doesn’t skip a beat, no matter who’s at the bar.
Conover said he “will never forget” his first appearance in a BYU uniform.
“It was great, but we have to continue next week and if my number is called I will be ready,” he said.
Whichever QB is chosen to start, he will face a BSU defense that ranks 108th in the country against the run, so the Broncos should probably expect a heavy dose of Allgeier. The BYU running back is No. 8 nationally in total rushing yards with 564 and No. 9 in rushing yards per game, at 113.8, after putting in 218 yards and three touchdowns on the Aggies.
The Cougars are 64th in attack (402.4 yards per game) and 65th in attack (29.2 points per game).
It’s a pretty good company.
The Cougars are 35th in defense (19.4 points per game) and 72 in total defense (378.8 yards per game) and will play a day game for the first time since their loss to Washington 45-19 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in 2019.