No. 19 BYU falls 38-24 at Baylor
WACO, Texas — No. 19 BYU football suffered its second loss of the season, falling to Baylor 38-24 at McLane Stadium on Saturday.
Baylor (6-1) was able to churn up yards on the ground and controlled most of the game, outgaining the Cougars (5-2) 534 to 409, with the Bears rushing for 303 yards.
Quarterback Jaren Hall was 22 for 31 passing for 342 yards and one touchdown. Hall also rushed for a 56-yard touchdown, a career long.
Wideout Puka Nacua led the Cougar receivers with five catches for a career-high 168 yards and one touchdown. Fellow receiver Gunner Romney also recorded three receptions for 81 yards.
Linebacker Ben Bywater again led BYU defensively with nine total tackles and seven solo tackles. Defensive back Malik Moore contributed seven total tackles, including five solo and one pass breakup.
After both teams went three-and-out to open the game, Baylor got the ball back for their second possession and drove to the BYU 6-yard line. The Bears went for it on 4th and 6, but linebacker Payton Wilgar intercepted Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon in the end zone. It was the first interception thrown by Baylor all year.
BYU picked up an early first down but failed to pick up another and punted back to Baylor. The Cougars held tight in the red zone, forcing a Bears field goal with 1:11 remaining in the first quarter.
Ending the quarter, Hall connected with Nacua for a 52-yard completion, setting up BYU at the Baylor 30-yard line to begin the second.
Converting on 3rd down with a pass from Hall to Neil Pau’u to set up 1st and goal, BYU took a 7-3 lead with 12:17 remaining on a 1-yard Tyler Allgeier rushing touchdown.
Baylor answered with a touchdown drive of its own, scoring with 8:54 left in the second quarter after rushing on six of seven plays on its 53-yard drive, taking the lead back at 10-7.
Opening the ensuing BYU drive, Hall completed a 45-yard pass to Nacua, but the drive stalled. Kicker Jake Oldroyd came out to attempt a 50-yard field goal, but his kick went wide left.
The Bears capitalized, putting together an 8-play, 67-yard drive and scoring on a 2-yard rush to take a 17-7 lead with 3:36 left in the half.
Baylor then recovered an onside kick to get the ball back. The Cougar defense held stout, however, stopping the Bears on 4th and 1 with 25 seconds remaining. Three Allgeier rushes and a Ryan Rehkow punt closed out the half.
BYU opened the half with a first down before facing a 4th and 1. Originally under center, Hall moved into the shotgun, keeping it for a 56-yard touchdown run to make it 17-14, Baylor, with 12:18 left in the third quarter.
Baylor extended its lead back to 24-14 at the 7:55 mark of the third after a 9-play, 78-yard drive ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Bohanon to fullback Dillon Doyle.
Another Hall to Nacua connection, this time for 47-yards, had the Cougars at the Baylor 28-yard line before the Bears strip-sacked Hall was sacked at their own 33-yard line.
A 45-yard Bohanon completion and three Abram Smith rushes, one for a touchdown, then had Baylor ahead 31-14 with 4:32 remaining in the quarter.
Starting the fourth quarter, Hall completed passes to Isaac Rex, Pau’u and Romney, but an 11-yard sack slowed the drive. Oldroyd hit a 48-yard field goal and it was 31-17 with 10:28 to go.
Taking 6:33 off the clock on their next possession, the Bears rushed 11 times on their 12-play, 82-yard touchdown drive, effectively putting the game out of reach at 38-17 with 3:55 remaining.
Highlighted by a 48-yard completion from Hall to Romney, the Cougars drove the field and scored on a Hall to Nacua 16-yard touchdown pass, making it 38-24 with 1:51 left in the game.
BYU attempted an onside kick, but it was unsuccessful, allowing Baylor to kneel out the clock.
The Cougars will be on the road again next week, playing at Washington State on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 12:30 p.m. PDT. The game will be broadcast on FS1.