Eugene, Ore. • BYU entered the day on the doorstep of a top-10 ranking, starting to see a path to a New Year’s Six bowl game, being the darling of the college football landscape.
But, in college football, it can all go away as quickly as it comes.
BYU knew coming into this season the margin for error was small if it wanted to break through into college football’s biggest stage. Not many even expected the Cougars to come this far, knocking off No. 9 Baylor last week and announcing themselves as the No. 12 team in the nation.
But, because the margin was so small, BYU knew it also needed to turn around a beat No. 25 Oregon on the road just six days later.
“Recognition is great, but the second something goes wrong, everyone is going to turn on you,” center Connor Pay said. “So we have to stay focused.”
In the end, Bo Nix and the Oregon Ducks proved to be too much for the Cougars. Oregon cruised to a 41-20 victory. BYU scored two quick touchdowns early in the fourth quarter, but the Cougars had dug themselves too big of a hole by then to truly threaten a comeback.
After further review ...
And here comes Nix back into the game for the Ducks ...
Signs of life
Kody Epps just grabbed his first career touchdown, an 18-yard pass from Jaren Hall. It’s 38-14 Oregon, 14:05 left in the game.
End of 3: Oregon 38, BYU 7
With their lead up to 31, the Ducks have taken quarterback Bo Nix out of the game. The Cougars will see redshirt freshman Ty Thompson the rest of the way.
After impressing vs. Baylor, BYU’s defense has given up 362 yards this afternoon at Autzen.
The Cougars have struggled offensively too. Jaren Hall has seen little separation from his receivers and the running game is averaging 2.5 yards a carry.
Halftime: Oregon 24, BYU 7
Jaren Hall — 13-of-16, 154 yards, 1 TD
Chris Brooks — 25 yards on six carries
Chase Roberts, 49 receiving yards
Brayden Cosper — 38 receiving yards
Isaac Rex — 28 yards, 1 TD
Bo Nix — 8/9, 135 yards, 1 passing touchdown, 2 rushing TDs
Mar’Keise Irving – 53 yards rushing yards
Troy Franklin — 50 receiving yards
Terrance Ferguson — 1 TD, 15 receiving yards
BYU’s kicking troubles continue
Jake Oldroyd spent the week trying to move past his two missed field goals late in the Baylor game. But the Cougars’ kicker just missed his third straight, sending his latest attempt wide right.
It’s 17-7 after two quick touchdowns to open the second quarter.
First Jaren Hall finds Isaac Rex.
Then this 50-yard bomb set up Oregon’s next score.
Q1: Oregon 10, BYU 0
Bo Nix has a touchdown and the Ducks have more than 100 yards of offense in the quarter.
But after some early struggles, the Cougars are driving as the first period comes to an end.
BYU down four potential starters
Gunner Romney and Puka Nacua are out again today. Nacua walked into the stadium with a boot. Romney did not make the trip.
Defensive ends Tyler Batty and Earl Tuioti-Mariner are also out, Kalani Sitake confirmed in his pregame interview.
Chase Roberts the go-to guy
Without Nacua and Romney, Roberts will likely be BYU’s top target. He had 15 targets for 122 yards and a touchdown last week.
Storylines and pregame reading
• Can BYU establish the run in this game? Last week, against a very good Baylor defensive line, the answer was no. Chris Brooks was held to 31 yards and BYU only mustered 83. BYU got away with it, but can it get away with it again? The Cougars’ highly touted offensive line needs to step up today.
• The defense played well last week. It might have been the most complete defensive performance the program has had in years. Can the defense step up against a much more pass-heavy attack this week? Iliasa Tuiaki thinks it can.
• We talk about it every week, but will BYU’s top two receivers be available this week. Another game-time decision for Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney.
• Jake Oldroyd missed two would-be game-winning field goals last week. He has spent the last few days trying to recalibrate. We spoke with him about how he is approaching his first kick after two big misses.
• Everyone can talk about the defense and the running game, but ultimately BYU goes as Jaren Hall does. We went in depth about Hall off the field, and how he is making his own way in a role with no blueprint.
• BYU will have to deal with plenty of crowd noise today. Autzen is one of the loudest stadiums in the country. Here is what BYU has been doing to prepare.
• And lastly, is it time to start rewriting the expectations of this season? It certainly will be with a BYU win today.