Waco, Texas • Baylor welcomed No. 19 BYU into McLane Stadium on Saturday with open arms — pulling out all the stops for its soon-to-be Big 12 opponent. But it wasn’t as welcoming on the field.
The Bears instead handed the Cougars their second straight loss, 38-24. It was the first time since 2019 that BYU has suffered consecutive losses.
“I’m a positive guy and asked the guys to take every opportunity to let that hurt sting in the locker room, but we’ve got to move on and get better,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. ”There’s a high sense of urgency from myself, the coaches and the players. So, we’re going to get back to it. [We] Can’t wait for next week ... but there’s definitely a high sense of urgency for me to get this thing back on track.”
The Cougars’ offensive and defensive lines simply weren’t a match for the dominating performance from Baylor, and struggled to keep up.
At first, though, it seemed the game would be a defensive battle, as both teams failed to get a single first down on their opening drives, but Baylor eventually was the first to strike, getting on the board with a 31-yard field goal.
By the end of it, the Cougars were unable to establish the run and struggled to convert on third down, going just 3 of 12. Baylor finished with 534 total yards — 304 yards coming on the ground.
Meanwhile, BYU put up 409 total yards, but only 67 of them came via the running game.
“In order to stop the run, you need to load the box [and] we did that,” Sitake said. “They exposed some of our 1-on-1 stuff. There were points where we were just trying to figure out how to get coverage and also stop them at the line of scrimmage. And they were committed to running the ball. The [Baylor] quarterback made some good decisions on the RPO scheme and kept us on our heels.”
In his second game back since sitting out a pair of games due to injury (ribs), BYU quarterback Jaren Hall completed 22 of 31 pass attempts for 342 yards. The redshirt sophomore, however, was sacked four times for losses totaling 38 yards.
Puka Nacua brought down a large chunk of BYU’s yards through the air with 168 yards on five receptions.
Gunner Romney caught a 48-yard bomb to set up the Cougars for one more touchdown late, but it wasn’t enough to catch up to the Bears’ lead.
Unlike last week against Boise State, BYU’s loss wasn’t a direct result of turnovers. The turnover margin was equalized with one apiece from each team. Instead, the Bears just outplayed the Cougars.
“We planned for [their physicality] all week,” Hall said. “We’re a physical team as well, and we always pride ourselves on it. ... We just got to learn from it and just play better. Plain and simple.”