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Can BYU keep up with Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels?

Cougars will need to be better Saturday night when they host the 19th-ranked Sun Devils at LaVell Edwards Stadium

Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels avoids the tackle of UNLV player during game Sept. 11, 2021, in Tempe, Ariz.
Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels avoids the tackle of UNLV linebacker Jacoby Windmon during game, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, in Tempe, Ariz. The elusive dual-threat QB is a dangerous weapon, one the Cougars will need to contain if they want to come out on top Saturday night in Provo.
Matt York, Associated Press

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When the Big 12 formally invited BYU to join that Power Five conference on Sept. 10, it set the stage for a remarkable weekend that culminated with Kalani Sitake’s Cougar football team climbing back into the top 25 following an emotional win over Utah in LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday.

Some have called this weekend one of the most important developments in the school’s athletic history.

Here are links to our coverage of the Big 12 news:

Cougar Insider predictions

Here’s the question of the week: Does BYU’s defense have the speed to defend ASU’s dual-threat quarterback Jayden Daniels and what will be the most improved aspect of the Cougars this week? Plus, predict the score.

Jay Drew: If I had been asked this question last week after the Cougars defeated Arizona 24-16 in Las Vegas, I would have said no, BYU does not have the speed to contain Jayden Daniels and some of Arizona State’s speedy wideouts and running backs. But the way the defense performed in the Cougars’ 26-17 win over Utah last Saturday changed my mind a bit.

The Cougars looked a step slow defensively against Arizona. They looked much faster on their home turf, for whatever reason. Maybe Utah wasn’t as fast as Arizona. BYU’s biggest defensive issue isn’t the lack of speed. It is shoddy tackling.

As for improvement, I see the Cougars getting a little better in their offensive execution this week. They are still working out some kinks, as can be expected early in the season. I think they will, and have to, get the tight ends involved more, which will be an improvement.

BYU 28, ASU 24.

Dick Harmon: BYU’s answer to spread speed defensively is to drop back and protect from big plays. I think you will see a little more of that in this game, mixed with some man press coverage and the newly embraced blitz packages. BYU’s corners are much better at coverage skills than they are given credit for. I thought they covered better than Utah’s in the last game. That group can deflect passes, high point balls, get hips turned, chase and can close. They do need to tackle better as evidenced in two games. In this game, BYU will need to set a spy on the ASU quarterback and mirror his movements because he is a play-breaker.

I think Jaren Hall has had a pair of outstanding games protecting the ball, being patient and making big plays. I do think he can improve with his progressions and seeing the field better, especially on the backside where receivers are open. He can also start hitting Gunner Romney, Puka Nacua and Samson Nacua more accurately on those deep bombs. That will come.

BYU 28, ASU 24.

Cougar Tales

Utah sought a historic 10 straight wins, but BYU ended that with a convincing 26-17 win over the Utes before a packed LaVell Edwards Stadium and national ESPN audience. The Cougars led from start to finish and dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The win vaulted the Cougars to a 2-0 start heading into the ASU game in Provo and back to the top 25.

Here are links to our coverage of that victory and how it went down:

  • BYU learned lessons from losses in this win (Jay Drew)
  • Is BYU-Utah talent gap really that big? (Dick Harmon)
  • Utah outplayed at the line of scrimmage (Jeff Call)
  • Utah’s Whittingham credits BYU for victory (Jeff Call)
  • BYU returns to top 25, Utah drops out (Brandon Judd)
  • Jaren Hall named to Davey O’Brien watch list (Brandon Judd)
  • One thing Whittingham found disappointing in loss (Jeff Call)
  • Cougars can’t afford a letdown after win (Jay Drew)

From the Archives

From the Twitterverse

Extra points

  • What experts say BYU’s Big 12 invite means for recruiting (247/sports)
  • Get up to speed on BYU recruiting (Deseret News)

Fanalyst

Comments from Deseret News readers

“Awesome game in front of a packed house. O-line was amazing. So good to see BYU playing affecting man coverage on defense. The D-line showed they are good and deep. Utah’s O-line was supposed to be the strength of their team. They got few pushes and BYU rushers were in the backfield all night. BYU’s win was no fluke. They controlled the line of scrimmage and it showed.”

— The Trooper

“Utah has had every advantage with a MUCH bigger budget and a HUGE recruiting advantage, yet they have rarely won by more than one score. There hasn’t been much of a talent gap. BYU will now have access to those same tools. The days of Utah dominance are over. The student has bested the master.”

— mmikeh85226

Up next

Sept. 16 | 7 p.m. | Soccer | vs. Idaho State | @Provo

Sept. 16 | 7 p.m. | Volleyball | vs. Utah | @Provo

Sept. 17 | TBA | Cross-country | vs. FSU Open | @Tallahassee, Florida

Sept. 18 | 6 p.m. | Soccer | vs. Utah State | @Provo

Sept. 18 | 6 p.m. | Volleyball | vs. Utah Valley | @Provo

Sept 18 | 8:15 p.m. | Football | vs. Arizona State | @Provo