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BYU football: Cougar offense thrives despite Jaren Hall going down with an apparent concussion

BYU quarterback Jaren Hall didn’t return to the game after sustaining an apparent helmet-to-helmet hit late in the first half

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BYU quarterback Jaren Hall makes a throw during a game against Utah State. Could Hall be the team’s starter in 2021?

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3) makes a throw during the first half of an NCAA football game at Maverik Stadium in Logan on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019.

Colter Peterson, Deseret News

LOGAN — BYU football just can’t buy a break on the injury front.

Despite taking a dominating 42-14 win over Utah State, the embattled quarterback position incurred yet another injury.

Just days after clearing concussion protocol, BYU freshman quarterback Jaren Hall apparently sustained another concussion toward the end of the second quarter. Hall had just scored on a 7-yard touchdown run, but didn’t return to the field of play after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit just as he crossed into the end zone.

Hall sustained his first concussion during the closing minutes of BYU’s 27-23 loss to South Florida on Oct. 12 and as a result was forced to sit out BYU’s 28-25 win over Boise State the following week. He cleared protocol with the help of a bye week prior to Saturday’s start and was performing well, throwing for 214 yards and rushing for another 54 in one half of play.

BYU coach Kalani Sitake didn’t provide specifics regarding Hall’s injury following the game, stating simply, “He wasn’t cleared to play in the second half.”

Hall was at his best when executing in the red zone, managing scoring runs from 16 and 7 yards out in helping the Cougars take an early lead.

The good news for the Cougars was the play of freshman walk-on Baylor Romney, who for the second week in a row proved equal to the task. The 6-foot-2 El Paso product produced touchdown drives of 75 and 68 yards to start the second half, helping the Cougars build a commanding 35-14 lead in the process.

“It’s what he’s been doing,” Sitake said. “It’s what our guys have been doing and he’s starting to have a lot more confidence in himself. I think he executed the plays real well, but I also liked the job our (offensive line) did protecting him. Offensively, the guys played really well.”

Romney finished the game completing 10 of 16 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns, despite playing just a quarter and half. He also rushed the ball four times for another 19 yards.

Throughout the game BYU employed creative play-calling and proved successful running three double-reverses for big yards, with each of the three showing slight variations. Perhaps the most creative one came with receiver Micah Simon throwing a pass to Romney for a 13-yard gain to help set up a touchdown.

The offense also executed several screen plays effectively, with the most notable coming with one thrown to running back Lopini Katoa, which went for 77 yards. Katoa finished with 129 yards receiving on just four receptions.

“The screen plays were really nice because one thing the people don’t talk about are the blocks downfield,” Sitake said. “That helps spring a lot of first downs on a lot of big plays. We also took some shots and were successful there, too.”

Brother to Brother

One of the more notable highlights came with Baylor Romney connecting with his younger brother Gunner on a 1-yard touchdown pass midway through the third quarter. It marked the first touchdown connection ever between two brothers in BYU history.

“We’ll just start recruiting more brothers and see what happens,” Sitake said, alluding to an instance where brothers Jackson and Isaiah Kaufusi both secured interceptions during the same game earlier in the year.