It’s a non-conference matchup on the gridiron when one of the nation’s remaining independents heads on the road to face the Big 12 in the Lone Star State. The #19 BYU Cougars are on the road as they travel to face the Baylor Bears Saturday afternoon. BYU was knocked off 26-17 at home by Boise State as a six-point favorite last Saturday in their most recent contest. Baylor rolled over West Virginia 45-20 at home as a one-point favorite in their previous contest last Saturday. These teams split two previous meetings but haven’t met since a #13 BYU squad, led by quarterback Robbie Bosco, rolled to a 47-13 home win on September 8, 1984.
BYU Cougars Looking to Bounce BackBYU started the season with five straight wins but were unable to come up with the home win over Boise State last week, knocking them from the ranks of the unbeaten. The Cougars dropped to 5-1 overall on the season and look to get back in the win column here. Against Boise State, BYU led 10-0 just over eight minutes into the game before seeing the Broncos get rolling. The Cougars surrendered 23 unanswered points to trail 23-10 after three quarters. BYU closed within six midway through the fourth quarter but couldn’t make the plays on either side of the ball the rest of the way to wind up with the loss. The Cougars held a 413-312 edge in total offense though they lost the time of possession by a 33:34 to 26:26 margin in the game. Both teams had 24 first downs but BYU turned the ball over four times while failing to record a takeaway in the contest.
We've had lots of great plays so far this season!!— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) October 13, 2021
Which play is your favorite? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/OLrIf04cvh
The Cougars enter this week 62ndin the nation in passing offense with an average of 237.5 yards per game through the air. BYU is 61st in rushing offense as they put up 168.5 yards per contest on the ground. The Cougars are 79th in the FBS in scoring offense as they put up 27.5 points a night this season. BYU is 32nd in scoring defense as they allow an average of 20.5 points per game. Jaren Hall is 73 of 122 passing for 863 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions. He is third on the team with 163 rushing yards on the year. Baylor Romney is 36 of 45 for 495 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions on the season. Tyler Allgeier leads the team on the ground with 121 carries for 642 yards and eight scores this season. Lopini Katoa contributes 40 carries for 165 yards as the second back in the system this season. Gunner Romney (23 catches, 371 yards, three TD) and Neil Pau’u (26 catches, 331 yards, four TD) are the top two targets in the passing game. Puka Nacua (15 receptions, 276 yards) is next in line and is the only other player with more than 100 receiving yards. Jake Oldroyd has hit eight of nine extra point attempts and five of six field goals with a long of 49 this season. Justen Smith has connected on all nine extra points and one of two field goals with a long of 40 on the year.
Baylor Bears Try to Maintain MomentumBaylor bounced back from their first loss of the season against Oklahoma State as they rolled over West Virginia at home last week. The Bears improved to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in the Big 12 with the victory and look to keep rolling here. Against West Virginia, the game was tied at seven just over two minutes into the game before Baylor took control. The Bears reeled off 21 unanswered points to lead 28-7 with 9:52 to play in the first half and didn’t let the Mountaineers closer than 15 the rest of the way. Baylor rolled up a 525-362 advantage in total offense and forced the game’s lone turnover to overshadow losing the first down battle 24-21 along with the time of possession by a 34:21 to 25:39 margin.
For the year, Baylor is 67th in the nation in passing offense as they average 233 yards per game through the air. The Bears stand 16th in rushing offense of the 130 FBS teams to take the field this year with an average of 228.7 yards per game. Baylor is 17th in the FBS in scoring offense with 38.3 points per game while the team stands 21st in scoring defense as they allow 17.8 points per contest. Gerry Bohanon has completed 96 of 145 passes for 1,332 yards with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions on the year. He adds 131 rushing yards plus six scores. The ground game has been solid for second-year coach Dave Aranda. Abram Smith leads the team with 78 carries for 597 yards and seven scores this season. Trestan Ebner (66 carries, 401 yards) and Taye McWilliams (17 carries, 181 yards, two TD) have also been effective in the run game. Tyquan Thornton leads the team with 27 receptions for 463 yards and five scores on the season. R.J. Sneed (19 grabs, 326 yards, TD), Drew Estrada (12 receptions, 204 yards) and Ben Sims (13 receptions, 152 yards, four TD) have gone over the 150-yard mark in receiving yards. Isaiah Hankins has hit all 30 extra-point attempts and six of seven field goal attempts with a long of 48 on the season.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Both teams have had success this season though BYU’s home loss to Boise State last week took some of the shine off their record. The Cougars look to bounce back but they’re going to have to contend with a pretty solid run game for the Bears. Baylor has a solid 1-2 punch in that department with Smith and Ebner combining for almost 1,000 yards in the first six games of the year. The Bears have been stout defensively, which is what you would expect from an Aranda-coached team. BYU hasn’t proven that they can beat a good team on the road yet and Baylor has looked good on their home field. Look for the Bears to take advantage of that and prevail in this contest.
Full-Game Total Pick
BYU comes into this game having seen the under hit in five of their six contests. The Cougars aren’t as explosive offensively as we’ve seen in recent years with three of their games falling short of the total by double figures. BYU has seen the under go 4-0 in their last four after an ATS loss and 6-0 in their last six against teams with a winning record. Baylor has gone over the mark in four of their six games but they have seen four straight totals between 44.5 and 48 points. This one is a little higher than that and you have to think the Bears’ defense helps keep this one in the high-40s, leaving it short of the mark.