Going down the Hall.
This game on Saturday should be Jaren Hall’s last game in LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Unless he really, really wants to return and compete in the Big 12 with what should be a loaded receiver corps at BYU.
“They don’t have to make that decision this week or even next week. If some of these guys do come back, we’ll honor them twice.” — BYU coach Kalani Sitake
Head coach Kalani Sitake told reporters Monday his seniors and juniors who could move on, like Hall and receiver Puka Nacua, will be honored Saturday and receive their trophy blankets even though they could decide later to return.
“They don’t have to make that decision this week or even next week,” he said. “If some of these guys do come back, we’ll honor them twice.”
Hall has had a good season. It was solid. If not for a four-game losing skid, it could have been considered outstanding. His legacy will always be that he was calm, polished, consistent, dependable, athletic and led BYU to wins over rivals Utah, Utah State and Boise State the past two seasons. He is the QB that ended Utah’s nine-game win streak against the Cougars.
He got his payback win over Baylor way back in September.
In a season with two regular-season games remaining, Hall has completed 218 of 330 passes for 2,622 yards, 66% completion rate, with an efficiency rating of 153.3. He has been sacked just 11 times, while rushing for 264 yards, a 3.8-yard-per-carry average, and has 24 TD passes and only five picks.
Hall missed out on leading the Cougars past Notre Dame, Liberty, East Carolina and Arkansas one year after chalking up wins over five Pac-12 teams, including Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Washington State and USC.
That’s not too shabby of a run.
This season’s biggest story was his shoulder injury suffered late in the win over Utah State. It was an issue that BYU’s offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick tried to play down afterward. It was only after the loss to Notre Dame in Las Vegas the following week that Roderick revealed Hall had not taken a snap in practices the entire week — something he’d never encountered before in his career work with an offense.
It’s interesting that Hall’s injury and monthlong recovery coincided with BYU’s four-game losing streak in October.
Before his injury, the Cougars were 4-1. If you consider his issues lasted a month and may have ended when Roderick and Hall both declared him 100% for the Boise State game, the numbers coincide with the theory that a healthy Hall really mattered.
This is aside from BYU’s glaring defensive struggles with the run game, getting off the field and failure to make tackles. Sitake has had 42 different starters take the field so far this season.
In his supposed six “healthy games” Hall completed 149 of 213 passes for 15 touchdowns. This was an average of 24.83 completions on an average of 35.5 attempts with 15 touchdowns, three interceptions and average completion percentage of 69.90 or 70%.
In the four-game losing streak after Hall was hurt against USU, he was 69 of 117, which is an average of 17.5 completions per game on 29.25 attempts. In this span, his average completion percentage was 58.97, or almost exactly 10% less accurate.
Again, those four losses cannot be pinned on Hall, but there is little question that his health impacted his accuracy and confidence.
While he ran 10 times in a win over Baylor and took off running eight times against Oregon and Wyoming, after the injury against the Aggies, his running attempts in the four losses were five (Notre Dame), six (Arkansas), five (Liberty) and eight (East Carolina).
Reportedly healthy at Boise State, he ran a season-high 12 times for 82 yards and completely changed the way BSU’s defense had to play.
Defensively, the surrounding issues on that side of the ball did play significantly into the four straight losses, especially the allowed third-down conversions and bloated time of possession differential. But that’s another story.
The struggles of the offensive line to convert short yardage also surfaced as a key issue for the Cougars.
Swan song for Hall? He’s a tremendous athlete and person.
He will be missed.