admin | Posted: 12 Jan 2022 | Updated: 26 Jul 2022

BYU Football: 2021 Season Review

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2021 Season Review BYU Football
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Filled with significant on-field achievements and historic off-the-field attainment, the 2021 BYU football season proved in many ways to be among the most memorable in school history.

Facing one of its toughest schedules ever, BYU went 6-1 against Power 5 conference opponents in 2021 to finish 10-3 overall and record back-to-back top-20 rankings for the first time since 2006 and 2007. BYU Athletics also formally received and accepted an invitation to join the Power 5 ranks as a member of the Big 12 Conference, starting in 2023.  

HELLO BIG 12

The Big 12 officially announced on Sept. 10 the forthcoming additions of Brigham Young University along with Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston. With current Big 12 members Texas and Oklahoma scheduled to become future members of the SEC, the Big 12 added four universities to its existing member institutions that proved during the 2021 football season the competitive value they bring to the new Big 12.

Ranked as high as No. 10 during the season, BYU finished the year at No. 19 with a 10-3 record to earn a top-20 Associated Press ranking in consecutive seasons, having won 21 of its last 25 games. Meanwhile, Cincinnati finished the season ranked No. 4 at 13-1 after becoming the first school from a non-Power 5 conference to earn a place in the College Football Playoff. Houston finished No. 17 with a 12-2 record while UCF had a strong season at 9-4 in 2021. The new additions were a powerful complement to the national rankings of Big 12 champion Baylor (12-2) at No. 5, Oklahoma State (12-2) at No. 7 and Oklahoma (11-2) at No. 10. 

BUILT4LIFE

Another significant off-the-field development came when the NCAA began allowing college athletes the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness (NIL) beginning in July. On June 16 at BYU Football Media Day, BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe announced the creation of Built4Life, a wholistic career development program for BYU student-athletes to prepare them for life beyond BYU Athletics and help them capitalize on future name, image and likeness opportunities. 

In August, BYU Athletics and current corporate partner Built Brands, LLC announced an enhanced multi-year agreement to support the Cougar football program, while also pioneering separate innovative NIL agreements with individual members of the football team. Built’s individual NIL agreements with BYU players include compensation to all members of the team, including compensation to all walk-on players in the amount comparable to the costs of tuition for the academic year. In addition to the Built Brands deals, players inked other NIL agreements throughout the year while pioneering a new frontier of collegiate sports and individual business opportunities. 

ON-FIELD FOCUS

On the field in 2021, BYU demonstrated the improving strength and maturity of the program under Kalani Sitake. Coming off an 11-1 season in 2020 that saw 13 players leave for the NFL, including five draft selections led by No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson, and offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes and offensive line coach Eric Mateos departing for Baylor, Sitake promoted Aaron Roderick to offensive coordinator and Fesi Sitake to passing game coordinator while hiring Kevin Clune to coach linebackers and Darrell Funk to coach offensive line. The team didn't miss a beat and responded in 2021 with BYU's first consecutive double-digit victory seasons since 2008 and 2009 against one of the program's most challenging schedules. After the regular season, BYU inked Sitake to a new contract running through the 2027 season.

Playing 22 different starters on defense and 19 on offense during the year, Sitake and his staff had to rely on and develop the team’s depth in 2021 while dealing with injuries.

The injury bug bit starters on both sides of the ball, beginning with defensive starters in cornerback Keenan Ellis and linebacker and captain Keenan Pili early on. The Cougars then lost linebacker Payton Wilgar and hybrid safety/linebacker Chaz Ah You for much of the year. This gave way to the emergence of leading tackler Ben Bywater at one of the linebacker spots, Max Tooley grew into a critical role and defensive backs Kaleb Hayes and Jakob Robinson arrived as playmakers throughout the year. 

On the offensive side, BYU lost starting right tackle Harris LaChance for much of the year and All-American center and team captain James Empey missed the back half of the season on the offensive line. Despite being without two starters, offensive line coach Darrell Funk in his first year with the Cougars continued to plug and play with great success, moving Campbell Barrington and Connor Pay into starting spots as the line continued to be a dominant front, earning recognition on the Joe Moore Midseason Watch List as a unit. In addition to the grinders on the line, when leading receiver Neil Pau'u went down and key wideout Gunner Romney missed time, Washington-transfer Puka Nacua continued to heat up along with his brother, Utah-transfer Samson Nacua, while Keanu Hill took a more regular role in the lineup to continue the deep threats down the field.

No position was immune to injuries, even in the quarterback room with starter Jaren Hall missing three games. Hall was among the top signal callers in the country when on the field, making big plays with his arm and his feet while totaling 2,583 passing yards with 20 touchdowns and 307 rushing yards and three scores. Always reliable, Baylor Romney took over in Hall’s absence and kept the chains moving, calmly throwing a key touchdown to close out Arizona State, beating South Florida by completing 20 of 25 passes for 305 yards and three touchdowns, and putting together an equally efficient first half against Utah State before he too went down with an injury. Freshman Jacob Conover took the reins against the Aggies and with an assist from the ground game helped secure the road victory in Logan. 

Despite finishing the year playing without eight of its opening-game starters, BYU achieved a 10-2 regular season and No. 13 College Football Playoff final ranking, finishing just shy of earning an invitation to a New Year's Six Bowl.

Among the many on-field highlights for the Cougars was earning back-to-back victories over nationally ranked Utah (then No. 18) and Arizona State (then No. 19) while going a perfect 5-0 against Pac-12 teams. Kicking off the season with a win against Arizona in the Vegas Kickoff Classic at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, BYU followed with a home win over Utah to end a nine-game losing streak in the rivalry and a memorable triumph over Arizona State before later securing road victories at Washington State and USC to sweep its Pac-12 opposition. 

The Cougars claimed the Beehive Boot in 2021, winning the annual in-state competition with victories over both Pac-12 champion Utah and Mountain West champion Utah State. All three in-state programs finished nationally ranked for the first time with the Utes (10-4) finishing No. 12 and the Aggies (11-3) at No. 24. BYU winning the state proved significant in 2021, as Utah was the only state to have three teams represented in the final AP rankings.

Another highlight came in one of the more entertaining games of the college football season when BYU hosted then 6-2 Virginia led by former BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. In a wild, high-scoring affair, BYU pulled away for a 66-49 victory that featured a combined 1,322 total yards and 115 points to set a single-game record at LaVell Edwards Stadium. BYU totaled 734 total yards of offense, which marked the first time since Mendenhall’s first season as the Cougars' head coach in 2005 that BYU tallied 300 or more yards passing and rushing in the same game. Running back Tyler Allgeier ran for 266 yards on 29 carries and scored five touchdowns—tying the school record for rushing touchdowns in a game. Allgeier ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns in the second half, tying Taysom Hill for the second-most rushing yards in a half at BYU. 

The Cougars also had victories over South Florida, Georgia Southern and Idaho State, while suffering setbacks on the road against Big 12 champion Baylor, at home to regional-rival Boise State and in the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl versus UAB. (See below for summaries of all 13 games).

IN THE RANKINGS

In the national polls, BYU finished the year ranked No. 19 by The Associated Press to earn a top-20 AP ranking in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 2006 (No. 16) and 2007 (No. 14) seasons. The Cougars were ranked No. 22 in the USA Today AFCA Coaches Poll. The last time BYU had back-to-back top-25 rankings was in 2008 (No. 25 AP) and 2009 (No. 12 AP/Coaches).

Coupled with its No. 11 season in 2020, Kalani Sitake’s Cougars have consistently earned a place among the national leaders throughout the past two seasons, appearing in the weekly national polls in 29 of 31 weeks during the season and in the final rankings.  BYU has achieved a top-10 ranking during each of the past two seasons, something the Cougars have accomplished during 12 seasons in their history. In 2021 BYU earned its 14th top-20 final ranking and its 19th top-25 final ranking. 

The Cougars appeared in all six CFP rankings released during the 2021 season, first appearing at No. 15 and earning a rank as high as No. 12 in the fifth rankings released following their final regular-season victory at USC. The No. 12 CFP ranking in 2021 is BYU’s highest ever. The Cougars appeared in all four CFP rankings released in 2020 during their 11-1 season, achieving a ranking as high as No. 13. In 2021, BYU finished at No. 13 in the final CFP rankings after the conference championship games, just missing an opportunity to be invited to a New Year's Six Bowl.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

On offense, BYU finished the year with a top-25 ranking in 32 different statistical categories. Among them, the Cougars ranked No. 3 in red zone touchdown percentage (74.55), No. 6 in most passing plays over 40 yards (18), No. 7 in longest plays overall of 40 or more yards (23), No. 8 in yards per play (6.77), No. 8 in fewest sacks allowed (15), No. 11 in red zone touchdowns (41), No. 12 in passing efficiency (158.66), No. 13 in fewest turnovers (12), No. 14 in passing yards per attempt (8.8), No. 17 in total offense (542.2 ypg), No. 20 in rushing touchdowns (30), No. 21 in total touchdowns (57) and No. 24 in rushing yards per attempt (5.11).

On defense, the Cougars achieved top-25 rankings in 10 different categories, while there were 15 top-25 rankings in special teams and misc. team categories. Among them, the defense finished No. 2 for fewest passing plays allowed of 30 or more yards (9), No. 12 in interceptions made (15), No. 16 for fewest passing touchdowns allowed (14), No. 15 for fewest overall plays allowed of 30 or more yards (18) and No. 17 in interceptions per game (1.15). BYU also ranked No. 4 in punting average (48.58), No. 8 in fewest total punts (40), No. 12 in punt returns of 20 or more yards (4), No. 22 in most PATs made (53) and No. 25 in punt return yards per game (18.3). The team also ranked No. 15 for fewest penalty yards per game (41.5) and No. 19 in turnover margin (+8).

>>View BYU 2021 Team & Individual Statistics

NUMBERS OF NOTICE

Individually, running back Tyler Allgeier ranked among the top 10 nationally in 14 different statistical categories and among the top 25 in 17 different categories. Among them, he led the nation in rushing touchdowns (23) and ranked No. 2 in total touchdowns (23), No. 3 in scoring (10.6), No. 4 in rushing yards (1,601), No. 5 in rushing yards per game (123.2), No. 7 in attempts per game (21.23), No. 7 in runs of 30 or more yards (8), No. 10 in runs of 10 or more yards (40) and No. 10 in total all-purpose yards (1,800).

Among other offensive players, quarterback Jaren Hall ranked No. 6 in yards per play (8.07), No. 16 in passes of 40 or more yards (14), No. 18 in yards per attempt (8.73), No. 19 in total offense (289.0), No. 22 in passing yards per game (258.3) and No. 23 in passing efficiency (156.1). Washington-transfer receiver Puka Nacua proved a big-play performer, ranking No. 12 for receiving plays of 40 or more yards (7), No. 17 in yards per catch (18.72) and No. 23 for total plays of 20 or more yards (18). Fellow receiver Gunner Romney also added big plays, ranking No. 26 for the most receiving plays of 40 or more yards (5) while ranking No. 31 in yards per reception (17.47).

Individually on defense and special teams, punter Ryan Rehkow had the No. 4 average at 48.58 but was below the minimum of 3.6 punts per game to be listed in the rankings. Punt returner Hobbs Nyberg ranked No. 5 for most punts of 20 or more yards (4) and No. 16 in punt return average (9.6). On defense, Oregon State-transfer cornerback Kaleb Hayes ranked No. 14 in pass breakups (12) while safeties Malik Moore and Jakob Robinson, a Utah State transfer, ranked No. 36 in interceptions (3). Among freshmen nationally, Robinson’s picks ranked No. 2, while COVID-year freshman linebacker Ben Bywater ranked No. 3 among freshmen in solo tackles (57), No. 4 in total tackles (102) and No. 5 in tackles per game (7.85). 

RECORD BREAKING ALLGEIER

In addition to the national rankings, running back Tyler Allgeier broke several BYU records and moved up the career rankings in Cougar history for individual performances throughout the year. Atop the list of achievements include breaking Luke Staley's 20-year-old single-season rushing record by becoming the first BYU player to run for 1,600 yards in a season (1,601), passing Staley's 1,582 rushing yards that powered the 2001 star to the school's only Doak Walker Award. 

Allgeier also scored a touchdown in 11 consecutive games, passing former wide receiver Mike Chronister's mark of 10 straight games set across the 1976 and 1977 seasons. He also passed former running back Ronney Jenkins (252 carries in 1998) for No. 1 in rushing attempts in a single season, finishing with 276. 

With his third touchdown in the Independence Bowl, Allgeier also set a new BYU bowl record with three touchdowns in a bowl game for the first time in school history. Allgeier was also just the third player to have multiple 200-yard games (213 at Utah State and 266 vs. Virginia) and tied all-time leading rusher Jamaal Williams for the single-game BYU record with five rushing touchdowns against the Cavaliers. 

He finished his career at BYU tied for No. 2 in rushing touchdowns (36), No. 4 in total touchdowns (37), No. 3 in 100-yard games (13), No. 5 in rushing yards (2,899), No. 10 in rushing attempts and No. 12 in all-purpose yards (3,433).

One Allgeier play that didn't set a record may also have been his most memorable of the season. The former Cougar linebacker showed why he can make plays no matter the circumstances when he leaped, literally, to the top of the highlight reels, with a critical, momentum-making forced fumble in BYU's win over nationally ranked Arizona State. With ASU seemingly returning an interception back for a touchdown to take the lead entering the fourth quarter, Allgeier chased down the ASU defender from behind to not only overtake him before he reached the end zone but also reach over him while flying through the air to punch out the ball onto the field of play. Meanwhile, Hall, who was right behind Allgeier chasing the play, recovered for the Cougars, who would go on to post one more touchdown to secure the victory. 

RISE AND SHOUT

Cougar Nation was another highlight for BYU football in 2021. From the season opener at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas to the team’s visit to the LA Coliseum to take on USC, BYU fans made their presence known both in cheering and representing the BYU brand in the stands. The return of full-capacity crowds at LaVell Edwards Stadium was also remarkable in 2021, with BYU ranking No. 2 in the West and No. 23 overall nationally in average attendance (61,647). BYU’s total attendance of 369,882 ranked No. 6 nationally among teams with no more than six home games.

BYU's incredible fan base also enjoyed seeing the Cougars featured on television throughout the season. The nationally ranked Cougars were a regular on national broadcasts with five games on ESPN, two matchups on ABC, two contests and ESPN2 and one each on Fox Sports 1, CBS Sports Network, BYUtv and ESPN+. BYU opened the season with three straight games on ESPN and throughout the entire season was one of the most-featured programs on the national networks. 

ACCEPTING All-AMERICA ACCOLADES

Running back Tyler Allgeier and offensive guard Clark Barrington both earned All-America recognition for their elite-level play in 2021. Meanwhile, Clark’s younger brother and fellow offensive lineman, Campbell Barrington, received Freshman All-America honors along with defensive back Jakob Robinson.  The list below notes some of the top honors received by BYU players and coaches during the 2021 season.
 

2021 AWARDS & RECOGNITION

TYLER ALLGEIER
Running Back | 5-11, 220 | Sophomore | Fontana, California

  • Sporting News All-America Second Team
  • Phil Steele All-America Fourth Team
  • Pro Football Network All-America Honorable Mention
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Player of the Year
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Running Back of the Year
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent First Team Offense
  • Phil Steele All-Independent First Team Offense
  • Doak Walker Award Semifinalist
  • Maxwell Award and Paul Hornung Award watchlist
  • Capital One Orange Bowl Player of the Week (Nov. 3)
  • Three-time Independent Offensive Player of the Week — College Sports Madness

JAREN HALL
Quarterback | 6-1, 205 | Sophomore | Spanish Fork, Utah

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Quarterback of the Year
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent First Team Offense
  • Phil Steele All-Independent First Team Offense
  • Two-time Independent Offensive Player of the Week — College Sports Madness

PUKA NACUA
Wide Receiver | 6-2, 210 | Sophomore | Provo, Utah

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Newcomer of the Year
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Receiver of the Year
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent First Team Offense
  • Phil Steele All-Independent First Team Offense

GUNNER ROMNEY
Wide Receiver | 6-3, 195 | Junior | Chandler, Arizona

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent First Team Offense

NEIL PAU’U
Wide Receiver | 6-4, 215 | Junior | Santa Ana, California

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Second Team Offense
  • Hula Bowl invitation

ISAAC REX
Tight End | 6-6, 247 | Freshman | San Clemente, California

  • Phil Steele All-Independent First Team Offense
  • John Mackey Award Watch List

CLARK BARRINGTON
Left Guard | 6-6, 302 | Sophomore | Spokane, Washington

  • 2021 Action Network All-America Second Team
  • 2021 Pro Football Focus All-America Third Team
  • Pro Football Network All-America Third Team
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent First Team Offense
  • Pro Football Network Offensive Line of the Year (BYU)
  • Phil Steele All-Independent First Team Offense
  • Joe Moore Award Midseason Watch List (BYU O-Line)

JAMES EMPEY
Center | 6-4, 303 | Junior | American Fork, Utah

  • Pop Warner College Football Award Finalist
  • Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Semifinalist
  • Wuerffel Trophy Semifinalist
  • Rotary Lombardi Award Semifinalist
  • NFF William V. Campbell Trophy Semifinalist
  • Pro Football Network Offensive Line of the Year (BYU)
  • Joe Moore Award Midseason Watch List (BYU O-Line)
  • CoSIDA Academic All-District 8
  • Three-time Rimington Award Watch List (2019, 2020, 2021)
  • Two-time Outland Trophy Watch List (2020, 2021)
  • 2021 Preseason All-American by Phil Steele and Athlon Sports

BLAKE FREELAND
Left Tackle | 6-8, 305 | Sophomore | Herriman, Utah

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent First Team Offense
  • Pro Football Network Offensive Line of the Year (BYU)
  • Phil Steele All-Independent First Team Offense
  • Joe Moore Award Midseason Watch List (BYU O-Line)

CAMPBELL BARRINGTON
Offensive Line | 6-6, 285 | Freshman | Spokane, Washington

  • Maxwell Football Club Freshman All-America
  • Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-America
  • The Athletic Freshman All-American Second Team
  • RJ Young’s Fox College Football All-Freshman Team
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Second Team Offense
  • Pro Football Network Offensive Line of the Year (BYU)
  • Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award Candidate
  • Joe Moore Award Midseason Watch List (BYU O-Line)

KALEB HAYES
Cornerback | 5-11, 190 | Junior | San Bernardino, California

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Defensive Back of the Year
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent First Team Defense
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Defensive Secondary of the Year (BYU)
  • Phil Steele All-Independent First Team Defense

MALIK MOORE
Free Safety | 6-1, 190 | Junior | San Diego

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent First Team Defense
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Defensive Secondary of the Year (BYU)
  • Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team Defense

JAKOB ROBISON
Strong Safety/Nickel | 5-11, 165 | Freshman | Orem, Utah

  • The Athletic Freshman All-America Second Team
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent First Team Defense
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Defensive Secondary of the Year (BYU)

PAYTON WILGAR
Linebacker | 6-3, 245 | Sophomore | St. George, Utah

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Linebacker of the Year
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent First Team Defense
  • Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team Defense
  • Bronco Nagurski Trophy Watchlist
  • Butkus Award Watchlist

BEN BYWATER
Linebacker | 6-3, 230 | Freshman | Salt Lake City

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Defensive Rookie of the Year
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent First Team Defense
  • CoSIDA Academic All-District 8

TYLER BATTY
Defensive End | 6-5, 265 | Freshman | Payson, Utah

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Second Team Defense

RYAN REHKOW
Punter | 6-5, 240 | Freshman | Veradale, Washington

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Punter of the Year
  • Pro Football Network All-Independent First Team Special Teams
  • Phil Steele All-Independent First Team Special Teams
  • CoSIDA Academic All-District 8
  • Ray Guy Award Watchlist
  • Ray Guy Award – Ray’s 8 Awardee (Oct. 4)

HOBBS NYBERG
Punt Returner | 5-11, 195 | Sophomore | Dixie, Utah

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Second Team Punt Returner

JACOB BOREN
Special Teams/Defensive Back | 5-11, 195 | Sophomore | Dixie, Utah

  • Pro Football Network All-Independent Second Team Special Teams

KALANI SITAKE
Head Coach

  • Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award Finalist
  • George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award Semifinalist

AARON RODERICK
Offensive Coordinator & Quarterback Coach

  • Broyles Award Assistant Coach of the Year nominee
     

2021 GAME-BY-GAME SUMMARIES

GAME 1 — BYU 24, Arizona 16
Sept. 4, 2021
Allegiant Stadium

LAS VEGAS – BYU opened the 2021 football season with a 24-16 win over Arizona in front of a crowd of 54,541 at Allegiant Stadium.

Running back Tyler Allgeier had 17 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown, while receiver Neil Pau'u set career marks with eight receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Jaren Hall went 18 for 28 with 198 yards, and added 36 rushing yards. Linebacker Keenan Pili had a game-high 17 tackles and a sack. The BYU defense tallied four sacks and safety Hayden Livingston grabbed his first career interception. Linebacker Ben Bywater added 10 tackles.

The Cougars used a 14-point second quarter to fuel the win, as Allgeier scored on a 15-yard run and Hall connected on a 67-yard touchdown to Pau'u. The Wildcats got a late field goal to make the score 14-3 at the half. In the second half, BYU found the end zone on a Pau’u six-yard reception to push the lead to 21-3. An Arizona safety, followed by a quick touchdown and a two-point conversion brought the score to 21-13. The Wildcats later scored with a field goal with 49 seconds left on the clock, but BYU ran out the clock to secure the win.

GAME 2 — BYU 26, No. 18 Utah 17
Sept. 11, 2021
LaVell Edwards Stadium

PROVO, Utah — BYU defeated No. 18 Utah for the first time since 2009, taking down its longtime rival 26-17 in front of a sellout crowd of 63,470 at LaVell Edwards Stadium. In Kalani Sitake's first win over Utah as head coach, the Cougars outgained the Utes 368 to 340, and won the turnover battle, 2-0. BYU led the entire game. 

Quarterback Jaren Hall went 18 of 30 for 149 yards and three touchdowns. He also carried the ball eight times for 92 yards. Running back Tyler Allgeier added 102 yards. Wideout Puka Nacua was one of eight BYU receivers to catch a pass. Nacua had four receptions for 37 yards. Linebacker Keenan Pili and defensive lineman Earl Tuioti-Mariner led the Cougars with seven tackles each.

After a field goal by Jake Oldroyd gave the Cougars a 3-0 lead, BYU made it 10-0 on a four-yard touchdown pass from Hall to Neil Pau’u to open the second quarter. Utah answered with a touchdown before the Cougars countered with a 93-yard drive and two-yard touchdown reception by Samson Nacua to put BYU up 16-7 at the half. A Gunner Romney touchdown reception from Hall pushed the BYU advantage to 23-7 through three quarters. A Utah field goal and touchdown in the fourth quarter cut the BYU lead to 23-17, but a 12-play 71-yard drive that ended in a Oldroyd 21-yard field put the game away for the Cougars.

GAME 3 — No. 23 BYU 27, No. 19 ASU 17
Sept. 18, 2021
LaVell Edwards Stadium

PROVO, Utah — No. 23 BYU football beat No. 19 Arizona State 27-17 at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Sept. 18 to mark consecutive regular-season wins over ranked opponents in back-to-back weeks for the first time in school history.

Jaren Hall went 15 of 27 for 214 yards and two touchdowns and  rushed seven times for 38 yards but left with an injury late in the fourth quarter. Hall was replaced by Baylor Romney, whose only pass of the game was a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Isaac Rex to seal the 27-17 BYU victory. Gunner Romney led all receivers with 95 yards and one touchdown, while tight end Rex added two touchdowns. Running back Tyler Allgeier had 21 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown.

BYU’s defense was led by linebacker Max Tooley, who recorded 10 tackles and an interception. Defensive back Malik Moore recorded the Cougars’ second interception of the night. BYU (3-0) defeated its third consecutive team from a Power 5 conference for the first time in a single season.

GAME 4 — No. 15 BYU 35, South Florida 27
Sept. 25, 2021
LaVell Edwards Stadium

PROVO, Utah — No. 15 BYU outlasted USF 35-27, marking the Cougars’ 250th victory at LaVell Edwards Stadium since it opened in 1964. 

In his first start of the season, quarterback Baylor Romney finished 20 of 25 for 305 yards and three touchdowns. BYU had two wideouts go for 100-yards receiving on the night. Baylor’s brother Gunner had five receptions for 119 yards and one touchdown while Puka Nacua recorded four catches for 102 yards. Running back Tyler Allgeier also added two touchdowns on 15 carries for 81 yards as the Cougar offense rolled up 448 yards of total offense.

Linebacker Ben Bywater led the Cougars defensively with eight tackles. Defensive linemen Pepe Tanuvasa and Caden Haws both had seven tackles each. Tanuvasa also added a tackle for loss as BYU won the turnover battle for the fourth-straight game.

The Cougars came out hot rolling up three touchdowns in the first quarter and one in the second to take a 28-6 halftime lead before USF rallied in the second half for the final outcome. BYU opened the season 4-0 for the second consecutive year for the first time in program history.

GAME 5 — No. 13 BYU 34, Utah State 20
Oct. 1, 2021
Maverik Stadium 

LOGAN, Utah — On the strength of three rushing touchdowns by running back Tyler Allgeier, No. 13 BYU downed in-state rival Utah State 34-20 at Maverik Stadium in Logan. The win moved BYU to 5-0 to begin the season for just the seventh time in program history (1979, 1981, 1984, 2001, 2008, 2020 and 2021) and first time in back-to-back seasons. 

Allgeier carried the ball 22 times for a career-high 218 yards and three touchdowns, putting the game away in the fourth quarter with his 67-yard run to set up his third score. BYU won its 19th consecutive game when breaking even or winning the turnover margin after finishing the USU game at plus-2 with interceptions by defensive backs Malik Moore and Jakob Robinson. The Cougars were No. 8 nationally in turnover margin entering the game.

The BYU defense stopped the run all night, limiting the Aggies to just 22 rushing yards on 35 carries, USU’s lowest output since 2019. Linebacker Ben Bywater led the Cougars defensively with nine tackles, one sack and three tackles for loss. Fellow linebacker Max Tooley also added four tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.

GAME 6 — Boise State 26, No. 10 BYU 17
Oct. 9, 2021
LaVell Edwards Stadium

PROVO, Utah — No. 10 BYU came up short against Boise State 26-17 at Lavell Edwards Stadium on Oct. 9, suffering its first loss of the 2021 season. After winning the previous two matchups at home, the Cougars fell to 3-3 in the BSU series at LaVell Edwards Stadium

Four turnovers were too much to overcome for BYU who held the Broncos to just two touchdowns and four field goals but couldn't finish enough drives to mount a comeback. Cougar quarterback Jaren Hall went 22 of 37 throwing for 302 yards and one touchdown in his first appearance since Arizona State. Gunner Romney tallied four receptions for 102 yards, with a long of 59, while fellow wide receiver Puka Nacua had four catches for 75 yards. Wideout Neil Pau’u recorded his 100th career reception.

Ben Bywater finished the game with a career-high 14 tackles, his second game of the year with double-digit stops. Payton Wilgar recorded nine tackles, a forced fumble and a tackle for loss. Corner Kaleb Hayes had two pass breakups in the game after collecting three against Utah State the previous week. BYU had just two turnovers entering the game in five previous contests but turned it over four times against the Broncos. 

GAME 7 — Baylor 38, No. 19 BYU 24
Oct. 16, 2021
McLane Stadium 

WACO, Texas — No. 19 BYU suffered its second loss of the season, falling to Baylor 38-24 at McLane Stadium on Oct. 16. The Bears controlled the tempo of the game, rolling up 303 yards on the ground and outgaining the Cougars in total offensive yards 534 to 409.

Quarterback Jaren Hall was 22 for 31 passing for 342 yards and one touchdown for the Cougars. He also rushed for a 56-yard touchdown, a career long. Wideout Puka Nacua led all BYU 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 tackles, while Payton Wilgar intercepted Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon in the first quarter giving him his first interception of the season. Defensive back Malik Moore contributed seven tackles and a pass breakup.

BYU dropped to 1-2 in the overall series and 0-2 in Waco. Baylor returns the game to Provo in 2022 before BYU becomes a member of the Big 12 in 2023.

GAME 8 — BYU 21, Washington States 19
Oct. 23, 2021
Martin Stadium 

PULLMAN, Wash. — Led by Tyler Allgeier’s 191 rushing yards and two touchdowns, BYU outlasted Washington State 21-19 at Martin Stadium on Oct. 23.

In the battle of the Cougars, BYU totaled 385 yards of offense, with 238 of those yards coming on the ground, a season high. BYU held Washington State to 93 yards rushing, its second lowest performance of the season. At 6-2 BYU became bowl eligible for the 16th time in the past 17 seasons and earned its fourth victory over a Power 5 team (Arizona, Utah, Arizona State and Washington State) in a single season for the first time in school history

Quarterback Jaren Hall finished the game 15 of 20 for 143 yards. He completed passes to eight different BYU wideouts, including Neil Pau’u who recorded six receptions for 70 yards. Allgeier’s 191 yards came on a career-high 32 carries. Fellow running back Lopini Katoa also had three carries for 15 yards and one touchdown.

Defensive back Jacob Boren and linebacker Ben Bywater led the BYU defense with five total tackles and four solo tackles each. Boren also added a pass breakup. Defensive back Malik Moore finished with four tackles, two pass breakups and an interception.

GAME 9 — No. 25 BYU 66, Virginia 49
Oct. 30, 2021
LaVell Edwards Stadium

PROVO, Utah — Led by timely takeaways and career performances from Tyler Allgeier and Jaren Hall, No. 25 BYU powered its way to a 66-49 victory over the Virginia Cavaliers on Oct. 20 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

BYU rewrote multiple records in its shootout over Virginia, spoiling UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall's first game in Provo since leaving BYU after the 2015 season. All-American candidate Tyler Allgeier ran for 266 yards on 29 carries and scored five touchdowns—tying the school record for rushing touchdowns in a game. Down 42-38 at halftime, the Cougars turned to Allgeier who ran for 192 yards and three touchdowns in the second half, tying Taysom Hill for second most rushing yards in a half at BYU. The Doak Walker semifinalist helped the Cougars outscore the Cavaliers 28-7 in the second half.

Wide receivers Samson and Puka Nacua each finished with 107 receiving yards and one touchdown apiece. Payton Wilgar led the defense with 11 tackles and had the first interception of the game. Defensive end Uriah Leiataua forced the second fumble of his career in a crucial juncture which led to a BYU touchdown. Defensive back Drew Jensen recorded his second career interception with 10:40 to play, swinging the momentum in BYU’s favor.

Hall completed 22 of 37 passes for 349 yards and three touchdowns while running for 42 yards and another score.  Virginia totaled 448 yards and 42 points in the first half, but only managed seven points and 140 total yards in the second half. BYU totaled 734 total yards of offense, while the two teams combined for 1,322 total yards and 115 points—the most in a single game in both BYU and LaVell Edwards Stadium history. 

GAME 10 — No. 15 BYU 59, Idaho State 14
Nov. 6, 2021
LaVell Edwards Stadium

PROVO, Utah — No. 15 BYU entertained its third sellout crowd of the year at LaVell Edwards Stadium in a 59-14 senior day win over Idaho State on Nov. 6.

BYU racked up 560 yards of total offense and seven different players scored touchdowns on the day. The BYU defense held Idaho State to just 238 total yards and just 1 of 12 on third down. Quarterback Jaren Hall played just one half but made it count with four passing touchdowns and one on the ground. He completed 20 of 25 passes for 298 yards. Wideouts Puka Nacua and Keanu Hill led BYU in receiving yards with 120 and 92, respectively. Hill later blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. Running back Tyler Allgeier scored his 17th rushing touchdown of the year in his one quarter of action. Defensive back Matthew Criddle had five tackles and an interception in his first career start while defensive lineman Pepe Tanuvasa added three tackles, an interception and a sack. 

GAME 11 — No. 14 BYU 34, Georgia Southern 17
Nov. 20, 2021
Paulson Stadium 

STATESBORO, Ga. — No. 14 BYU defeated Georgia Southern 34-17 on Nov. 20. Despite a pesky Eagle team motivated by senior day, BYU was too much down the stretch, forcing a pair of second-half turnovers to put the game away. 

Before a near capacity crowd at Paulson Stadium, the Cougars totaled 510 yards of total offense while holding the Eagles to just 268 yards. Quarterback Jaren Hall went 17 of 29 for 312 yards and two touchdowns, while running back Tyler Allgeier finished with 136 rushing yards and one touchdown on 25 carries. Allgeier moved up to No. 7 in career rushing yards with 2,596, passing Doak Walker Award winner Luke Staley. He also passed Harvey Unga and Jamaal Williams to take the No. 6 spot for single season rushing yards at 1,298. Wideouts Gunner Romney and Puka Nacua recorded five receptions each, with Romney tallied 87 receiving yards and Nacua added 83 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, linebacker Ben Bywater led the Cougars with eight tackles, including three solo and two tackles for loss. Cornerback Jakob Robinson finished with two interceptions in the game and contributed four total tackles.

GAME 12 — No. 13 BYU 35, USC 31
Nov. 27, 2021
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

LOS ANGELES — No. 13 BYU weathered a late USC comeback to take down the Trojans 35-31 at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Nov. 27.

Leading for the majority of the game, the Cougars faced a 31-28 deficit early in the fourth quarter before taking the lead back with just under four minutes remaining. Running back Jackson McChesney came off the bench on the final drive and rumbled seven yards into the end zone for the go-ahead score with 2:22 to play. USC threatened again in the final minutes, but defensive back Kaleb Hayes came up with a crucial 4th-down stop on the BYU 10-yard line to seal the Cougar victory.

Quarterback Jaren Hall finished 20 of 32 for 276 yards and two touchdowns. Wideout Keanu Hill hauled in four passes for 72 yards and one touchdown, while fellow receiver Puka Nacua added three receptions for 42 yards and one touchdown. Running back Tyler Allgeier led all Cougar receivers with five receptions. On the ground, he went for 111 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns, his sixth 100-yard game of the year. Allgeier moved to No. 2 all-time at BYU in single season rushing yards at 1,409 and No. 7 in career rushing yards at 2,707. His two rushing touchdowns moved him into No. 5 in career rushing scores at 32. Linebackers Max Tooley and Ben Bywater led the BYU defense with 13 total tackles each.

GAME 13 — UAB 31, No. 13 BYU 28
Dec. 18, 2021
Independence Stadium

SHREVEPORT, La. — No. 13 ranked BYU finished the 2021 season at 10-3 following a 31-28 loss to UAB in the Radiance Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Playing in rain with cold, windy conditions, BYU entered the bowl game playing without eight opening-game starters for the 2021 season. The UAB Blazers (9-4) jumped out to an early 14-0 lead before the Cougars came back to tie the game at 21 and then take a 28-24 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Blazers, however, got the last score of the game and sealed the win recovering a late BYU turnover as the Cougars approached scoring position driving for a game-winning score. 

BYU All-American running back Tyler Allgeier led a Cougar comeback, finishing with 192 rushing yards on 27 carries and three touchdowns. His season-ending total of 1,601 rushing yards broke the BYU single-season rushing record, previously held by 2001 Doak Walker Award winner Luke Staley (1,582). Starting in place of injured starter Jaren Hall, quarterback Baylor Romney went 15 of 23 for 195 yards. Linebackers Max Tooley and Ben Bywater led the Cougars defensively with 10 and nine tackles, respectively. Tooley had six solo tackles and a pass breakup while Bywater used five solo tackles and two tackles-for-loss to help him tally a team-best 102 tackles overall on the season. Hayden Livingston collected his second interception of the year late in the third quarter to end a UAB drive. Tyler Batty added 2.5 sacks to finish with a team-high 3.5 sacks for the year.