Backup QB Jake Retzlaff to start for BYU against Iowa State

Another week, another start under center for Jake Retzlaff.

BYU’s backup quarterback will fill in for Kedon Slovis once again this Saturday against Iowa State, offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick told the media Wednesday following practice.

“Right now we’re planning on Jake starting,” Roderick said. “Kedon’s improving … he’s healing, but he’s not all the way there yet and we’re unsure if he’ll be available Saturday or not.”

Retzlaff made his first career start in place of Slovis this past weekend at West Virginia, finishing the night 24-42 in passing for 210 yards in a 37-7 loss. The junior college transfer didn’t quite stuff the stat sheet, but he made a number of impressive throws and proved sufficiently mobile outside of the pocket in an encouraging debut effort.

“I thought he played pretty well,” Roderick said of Retzlaff’s outing against the Mountaineers. “Obviously, we didn’t score enough points … it’s super disappointing to score only seven points, but he did a lot of good things in that game. He did a really good job.”

While Retzlaff’s overall skillset is fairly different from that of Slovis, Roderick shared that he wasn’t planning to make any drastic alterations to BYU’s offensive scheme this week. “Obviously last game you saw him running around a little more, but you can’t change too much this time of year. We’re trying to play to (Jake’s) strengths as best we can without making too many wholesale changes to the offense.”

Slovis originally sustained an injury to his throwing arm against Arkansas in mid September before further aggravation against Texas ended up sidelining the fifth-year senior. With the start Saturday, Retzlaff not only holds the opportunity to play hero in leading the Cougars to clinching bowl eligibility, but he also has the chance to make his case to be BYU’s starting quarterback in 2024 and beyond.

“It’s unfortunate for Kedon, but it’s turned out to be a real good opportunity to see what we have in Jake,” Roderick said.

Retzlaff’s Cougars and a strong Iowa State defensive unit square off Saturday at 8:15 p.m. in Provo, with the Cyclones currently pegged as 7.5-point favorites.

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