The victory extended Oregon’s winning streak at Autzen Stadium to 21 games and wiped away any chance the Cougars had of making the College Football Playoff. However, if BYU can win out, the Cougars still have a great shot at making a NY6 berth with big games against No. 10 Arkansas, Notre Dame, Boise State and Stanford still left on the schedule.
It also helps that BYU is the only school in the Top 25 that does not belong to a P5 Conference. With only two G5 schools (Appalachian State, Cincinnati) receiving votes right now, but the Cougars still have the inside track for an at-large berth.
With that, here’s the biggest takeaways in BYU’s loss to Oregon.
Oregon Is Better Than We Thought
I’ll be honest, after watching the first quarter of the Oregon-Georgia game, I quickly turned it off as the Bulldogs rolled to a 49-3 victory.
Oregon came into the season with a new head coach, a new quarterback and a lot of other issues going on. That’s why I was surprised to see that Oregon was a 3-point favorite against the Cougars, despite then-No. 21 BYU knocking off then-No. 9 Baylor 26-20.
I thought BYU would easily cover the spread and roll onto another Pac-12 victory. Boy was I wrong. As always, any team can win on any given Saturday and that’s exactly what happened on Saturday as Oregon was fired up to play, while BYU waltzed in thinking they were going to roll after a big win the previous week.
No matter how Oregon’s season is going, Autzen Stadium is still one of the toughest places to play. The Ducks claimed their 21 straight victory and the game was never in doubt either.
Oregon has pulled away from BYU in this one.
Methinks Georgia might be really good at football!
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) September 17, 2022
Coming into the season, BYU’s offensive line looked to be one of the bright spots with so many returning starters, combined with the addition of Kingsley Suamataia, the highly touted Oregon transfer.
It wasn’t the local media drinking the kool-aid either as a number of national analysts, sites and analytical companies had BYU’s offensive lineman as one of the best in the country.
Everything looked great in Week 1 as the Cougars racked up more than 300 yards rushing and averaged more than 8 yards per carry against USF. It looked even better after USF nearly took down No. 20 Florida on the road in a 31-28 loss.
However, against then-No. 9 Baylor the Cougars managed just 83 yards (2.5 yards per carry). Although it wasn’t great by any means, it was a slight improvement against the stout Bears defense as the Cougars managed just 67 yards rushing yards against Baylor last year.
With Oregon allowing more than 5 yards per carry to Georgia in 49-3 blowout loss in the season opener, the Ducks defense didn’t seem like much of a threat. What a difference a couple of weeks can make, especially playing at home!
While BYU’s offensive line provided great pass protection once again, the run blocking was atrocious as the Cougars managed just 61 rushing yards, with most of those coming in the second half against the Ducks’ second and third string players.
“It’s definitely a concern,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said after the game. “I don’t know what the issue is.”
The team better find out quick if it wants to have another 10+ win season again.
After back-to-back weeks of solid defense and with nearly everyone back from last season, Saturday’s game was frustrating to watch as the Cougars miss tackle after tackle.
Tackling has always been an issue at BYU, however, this year appeared to be different as the team showed a lot of promise, playing assignment sound and making great open field tackles. But that didn’t last long as the team missed several tackles on every possession. In fact, BYU’s missed tackle problem on Saturday became a running commentary during the game broadcast.
Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (who transferred from Auburn because he couldn’t throw), looked like a Heisman Trophy candidate as he accounted for all five of the Ducks’ touchdowns, completing 13 of 18 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran for 35 yards and three touchdowns.
Missed tackles very very costly as the Ducks were able to convert all three of their fourth-down attempts, including two on a touchdown drive just before halftime to extend their lead to 24-7 and put the game out of reach.
One of the most consistent areas for BYU over the decades has been on special teams. From booming punts, to made field goals and sound kickoff coverage, BYU has been so steady over the years… but this year.
In the first game of the season, USF returned a kickoff for a touchdown, and almost had another. In the kicking department, Jake Oldroyd, who is know by many as “Goldroyd” for his reliability, missed two kicks against Baylor and then missed another one on Saturday against Oregon which would have cut the deficit to 17-10 and turning the momentum in favor of BYU.
Instead, Oldroyd missed from 38 yards out and that was all Oregon needed to keep rolling. The miss obviously raises questions about Oldroyd’s confidence moving forward. Hopefully the game doesn’t come down to a kick anytime soon.