No. 21 BYU upsets No. 9 Baylor in double-overtime thriller

The defending champions of the Big 12 provided a measuring stick game for the Cougars.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3) scrambles with the ball, as Baylor Bears safety Devin Neal (14) defends, in football action between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Baylor Bears at Lavell Edwards Stadium in Provo, on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.

BYU missed not one, but two game-winning field goal attempts.

Didn’t matter.

The No. 21 Cougars upset No. 9 Baylor, 26-20, in a double-overtime thriller at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Jake Oldroyd’s attempt from 35 yards at the end of regulation went wide left. His look from 37 yards to win in overtime missed left, too.

But in the second overtime period, BYU running back Lopini Katoa’s rushing touchdown would prove to be the game-winner. The Cougars held the line on defense, forcing Baylor into a fourth-and-long the Bears failed to convert.

Wide left

Chase Roberts’ big game

Puka Nacua’s walking the sideline. Gunner Romney hasn’t suited up yet this year.

So with BYU’s two top wide receivers out of action, Jaren Hall has found a new favorite target tonight. Hall connected with freshman Chase Roberts for a 20-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the half to give the Cougars a 10-6 lead at intermission.

Hall was 12-for-19 for 143 yards at halftime. Four of those completions have been to Roberts.

In the second half, it was Roberts and Hall connecting again — this time with some trickery.

With time winding down, Hall found Roberts for a 37-yard completion to put the Cougars in field-goal range with a chance to win the game.

Roberts had eight catches for 122 yards and a score in regulation.

Nacua and Romney both ruled out

The health of Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney has been the main storyline this week. Kalani Sitake confirmed in his pregame radio interview that both will not play tonight against Baylor.

TV info

It might be one the biggest games of the Independence era at BYU, and there is no shortage of storylines.

No. 9 Baylor, the defending champions of the Big 12, will visit Provo tonight as the highest-ranked opponent to play in LaVell Edwards Stadium since the Cougars left the Mountain West conference.

You would have to go all the way back to 2009 — in a game against No. 8 TCU — to find the last time a team inside the top 10 came to town.

Game time: 8:15 p.m. MDT

Channel: ESPN

Broadcast team: Mark Jones, Robert Griffin III, Quint Kessenich

College GameDay Picks: Baylor was picked 4-1 to win the game by College GameDay’s panel of analysts. Kirk Herbstreit, Pat McAfee, Desmond Howard and the celebrity guest all went with the Bears. Lee Corso was the only man to pick BYU.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Brigham Young Cougars take the field for football action between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Baylor Bears at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.

Storylines and pregame reading

• Jernaro Gilford called his shot earlier this year. BYU’s cornerbacks coach told everyone that his position group was the best BYU’s had since the 1990s. Against Baylor, BYU’s path to victory largely rests on Gilford being proved right. With the Bears’ mix of speed at receiver and a strong-armed quarterback, the secondary will have its hands full.

• Kalani Sitake started this week off by calling Baylor the standard of the Big 12. There are plenty of parallels between these two teams in terms of how BYU wants to build its program in the Big 12. So this is a measuring stick game, and the coaching staff has embraced it.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougar fans cheer and Baylor fans react as BYU takes the lead scoring their first touchdown of the night, in football action between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Baylor Bears at Lavell Edwards Stadium in Provo, on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022.

True freshman Korbyn Green was going to sign with Baylor. Now, after Joey McGuire left to Texas Tech, he is at BYU. Could this week be his moment to break the rotation against the team he was going to play for?

Baylor head coach Dave Aranda met BYU assistant coaches Kevin Clune and Ed Lamb met in an In-N-Out Burger over 20 years ago. Now, after weaving in and out of each others coaching lives for the last two decades, they will meet on college football’s biggest stage. It is a long way away from the Division-III SCIAC, where there are no scholarships.

How about a statement to Texas recruits? Big 12 success is often predicated on mining the talent-laden state in the heart of the conference. BYU still has a ways to go in that department, but beating Baylor would be a strong first step.

• Keanu Hill might be wide receiver one today, so here is a little bit of background on the Texas kid stepping up against a Texas school.

And some tidbits about the kicking drama, secondary and more on Baylor.