No. 12 BYU football deflated early in 41-20 loss to Oregon

EUGENE, Ore. — Talk about a reality check.

Just a week following the high of a thrilling double overtime upset over Baylor, No. 12 BYU came crashing down to earth Saturday in an embarrassing 41-20 pillaging at the hands of Oregon.

The Cougars didn’t just stumble in Eugene— they were absolutely lost. This team could not have looked more different from the squad that beat Baylor seven days ago.

The worst part? There won’t be any “2022 Pac-12 champion” jokes this year.

“I didn’t have this team ready, and that’s on me,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “We’ve got to find a way to start better and faster. We dug ourselves too much of a hole to climb out of.”

Bo Nix and company silenced the Cougars almost immediately, scoring with ease on their first six drives of the afternoon and never looking back.

By the time the Ducks punted for the first time — nearly 40 minutes into the game — they’d already posted 38 points. That’s usually a recipe for success.

The Cougars left their typical energy and discipline back in Provo, whiffing against the run all afternoon to surrender 212 rushing yards while seemingly missing the same number of tackles. BYU’s defense was as sturdy as a wet CougarTail, allowing Oregon to easily move the ball however Nix pleased.

“We were missing tackles, and I honestly don’t think that’s our style of play,” Sitake said. “We’ve got to get back to the fundamentals.”

For perspective, BYU gave up just 289 total yards against Baylor through regulation and two overtime periods. Oregon nearly eclipsed that total in the first half, gashing the perplexed Cougar defense for 439 yards in all.

Last week’s silenced Ilaisa Tuiaki critics may have just found their voices again.

Oh, and Jake Oldroyd missed another field goal. This game was just cursed.

Despite missing his top two receivers and playing from behind all day, Jaren Hall shined yet again for the Cougars, throwing for 305 yards and a pair of scores in his first-ever loss to a ranked opponent.

Hall had minimal help in the run game, as Chris Brooks and Lopini Katoa struggled to find space in BYU’s second straight game averaging less than three yards per carry.

“I don’t know what the issue is,” Sitake said of BYU’s rushing woes. “Obviously (Oregon) did a good job shutting down the run and making us one-dimensional.”

Isaac Rex and Kody Epps both hauled in touchdown grabs, Chase Roberts added receiving 60 yards and Chris Brooks found the end zone as well for a fourth quarter score.

If only it had mattered. The game was all but finished before halftime.

“This doesn’t change our confidence or how we approach our next game,” Hall said. “We’re still the same team that we were two weeks ago and a week ago, so we’ve just got to learn from today and be better.”

BYU, now 2-1 and poised for a dip in the polls, will look to rebound next Saturday at home against Wyoming.

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