Cam Rising and Jaren Hall have been impactful passers, but their legs may be their biggest weapon
Utah, BYU QBs’ ability to run could be the difference vs. Oregon State and WSU (plus weekly picks)
The QBs will be on the dashcam this weekend.
Utah’s sudden offensive fireworks have centered on QB Cam Rising’s mobility as a run threat, and his arm accuracy isn’t too shabby either. Will BYU’s Jaren Hall, who is just as capable as a runner, use that trait as the Cougars head into Pac-12 territory?
Hall and Rising have similar run statistics so far this season. Both have played five games, Rising has had 22 rushes for a net 182 yards, 7.5 yards per carry, two touchdowns, a long run of 31 and an average per game of 37.6.
Hall has attempted 30 runs for a net 188 yards, a 6.3-yard average, one touchdown, his longest jaunt is for 56 yards, and he averages 37.6 yards per game. In his comeback game after being injured against Arizona State, he did not look to run the ball, but against Baylor, he did rip off an RPO keeper of 56 yards, a complete surprise for the Baylor defense.
If Rising and Hall are a threat on Saturday, it will change completely what Oregon State and Washington State defensive coordinators have to do in accounting for the QB run, the quarterback option and a QB draw. It forces a linebacker to be a spy, focusing on the QB run, or causes the defenses to bring in another player into the box, usually a safety.
Rising is already a threat and it has opened up Utah’s offense. Hall has been cautious and reticent to use that skill the past two games after Hall injured his ribs, which sidelined him three weeks. But if he can run, that should open things up for BYU’s passing game and teammates Tyler Allgeier and Lopini Katoa.
This week’s picks
Oregon 38, UCLA 21
Colorado 27, California 14
Notre Dame 37, USC 24
Utah 34, Oregon State 27
San Diego State 31, Air Force 21
Nevada 42, Fresno State 35
Utah State 27, Colorado State 24 (Friday)
Oklahoma State 41, Iowa State 31
Purdue 28, Wisconsin 21
BYU 38, Washington State 31
Last week 9-3; Overall 88-45 (.661)
The Utes have featured some complementary run weapons to help Rising, while Hall has to hope right tackle Harris LaChance and right guard Joe Tukuafu make a return to the lineup. Hall needs Allgeier to break loose this weekend in Pullman — get the same lanes he had against ASU and Utah.
“Every team goes through its ups and downs and after playing eight weeks, everyone is banged up,” said Hall earlier this week. “Our training staff has been great at handling injuries.”
Hall has found a bond with Washington transfer Puka Nacua, who has become a bomb machine in the BYU offense. But Hall likes his other targets and is blessed to have some sure-handed, big receivers to spread the field. He’ll need all of that firepower to keep up with Washington State’s pass-happy offense, created by the legendary June Jones.
Rising has been sensational, especially against USC when he passed for more than 300 yards, which included going 13 of 15 in the second half of a dramatic comeback win over ASU at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Regardless of the aerial attack at the disposal of Rising and Hall, its their ability to run and force defenses to recognize their abilities that will surely be a key come Saturday in Corvallis and Pullman for these two squads.
Rising believes the Utes have back their swagger.
Hall says after leaving Waco with a second straight loss, the Cougars have to have a short memory and get going to the task at hand.