USF is already out in Provo, Utah getting acclimated to the time zone, and altitude they’ll face on Saturday at BYU, and I’m prepping for the game by staying up until 2 a.m. and pretending to be a fully functioning adult the next day.
We reached out to SB Nation’s Vanquish The Foe to get the scoop on the BYU Cougars.
The Daily Stampede: BYU inexplicably lost to USF in 2019. Is there some sort of revenge factor at play here this week?
Vanquish The Foe: Players have mentioned it this week, so it’s been discussed. I don’t think it’s a huge thing, but it’s a thing. BYU still has a lot of guys around that played in that game. That 2019 game was Jaren Hall’s first career start after Zach Wilson went down the previous game with a thumb injury.
The Daily Stampede: Who should USF fans be worried about on offense and defense?
Vanquish The Foe: BYU’s offensive line has been stout through the first three games. Everyone is at least 6-foot-4 and weighs 300+ lbs. They do well in pass and run blocking. Jaren Hall has been the starting QB and is very mobile, but he is a bit banged up. There’s a chance we could see backup Baylor Romney. Baylor has started 3 career games and has 1000+ passing yards. He’s not quite the QB Hall is, but he’s more than competent. Also keep an eye on RB Tyler Allgeier who rushed for over 1000 yards last season.
Defensively, BYU lost one its top players last week in LB Keenan Pili. LB is still the strength of this team with Payton Wilgar and Max Tooley. Keep an eye on safety Chaz Ah You — he’s a guy that has made off script plays this season.
The Daily Stampede: Where should USF fans go in Provo?
Vanquish The Foe: Funny you should ask because we wrote a piece earlier this month of the Provo spots to hit up. You’re not gonna find many drinking places (sorry!), but there is some beautiful scenery and solid spots to eat. Check out Swig or Sodalicious if you want to see soda shops, which are Mormons’ bar equivalent.
The Daily Stampede: How many more Romneys should we expect in the future?
Vanquish The Foe: BYU has a pair of Romney brothers in Gunner and Baylor. Gunner is one of BYU’s top receiver and Baylor is the backup QB. Younger brother Tate is on a mission and will be back next season, so we’ll likely have a Romney around through at least 2025! And yes, they are distant relatives of Mitt.
The Daily Stampede: Is it fair for BYU to have 28 year old offensive linemen with two mortgages on the field with 18-21 year olds? (Kidding…kinda)
Vanquish The Foe: The mission thing is interesting. More than half of BYU’s players take two years off to go to various places around the world to do service and talk about Jesus. This helps with maturity, but it doesn’t help with the football aspect. Imagine if your top players went to Chile for two years and maaaybe tossed a football around once a week, and if they were lucky and the most exercise they got was some pushups each week. Would you sign up for that? Probably not. It takes most guys at least a year to get back in shape and most guys BYU sends to the NFL didn’t go on a mission — think Zach Wilson, Fred Warner, and Kyle Van Noy. I think OL is maybe the one position that benefits as they get two more years to put on grown man strength, but I don’t think not playing football for two years helps if you want to get better at football.
The Daily Stampede: How does USF steal a win in Provo this weekend?
Vanquish The Foe: They’re gonna need to run the ball. BYU’s last loss came versus Coastal Carolina, and BYU was never really able to stop the run that game and allowed CC to control the clock. BYU struggled most versus ASU when the Sun Devils were able to run. If USF can establish the run early, it will take BYU out of their gameplan of largely soft coverage with timely blitzes. I think BYU wins comfortably, but that is USF’s realistc recipe for an upset.