This is the next edition in the opponent preview series for the Utah State Aggies football team. Each new preview covers a different opponent for the Aggies.
Game 5: at BYU
Date/Time: Thursday, September 29th at 5:00 PM PST
Location: Provo, Utah
History: Over the years Utah State and BYU have played several times, with BYU leading the overall series 50-37-3. BYU won the 2021 matchup in Logan 34-20 and the 2019 game in Logan 42-14. Utah State beat BYU in 2018 and 2017, 45-20 and 40-24 respectively. The first time that Utah State beat BYU in the 2000s time frame was in 2010, when the Aggies took down the Cougars 31-16 in Logan. The first time Utah State beat BYU as a Mountain West team was in 2014, when the Aggies won a home game 35-20. In the last 10 matchups, Utah State is 3-7 against the Cougars. The longest win streak for the Aggies in this series is five games while the longest losing streak is 10 games.
Players to Watch
Junior quarterback Jaren Hall
In 2021, Hall attempted 296 passes and completed 189 through 10 games. He threw for 2,583 yards and 20 touchdowns against five interceptions, finishing the season with an efficiency rating 156.07 on the year. During the 2019 season, Hall threw for 420 yards on 31 completions and had one touchdown with an efficiency rating of 151.26.
Senior wide receiver Gunner Romney
Romney had 34 catches for 594 yards and three touchdowns in 2021. Against South Florida, Romney had five receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown.
In 2020 Romney had 39 catches for 767 yards and two touchdowns. Against Boise State, Romney had six receptions for 133 yards and a 42 yard catch.
Junior wide receiver Puka Nacua
Nacua caught 43 passes for 805 yards and six touchdowns in 2021. His biggest game came against Baylor, where he had five receptions for 168 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore wide receiver Keanu Hill
Hill finished the 2021 season with 18 receptions for 343 yards and two touchdowns and will be looking to make a bigger impact for the Cougars this Fall.
Sophomore tight end Isaac Rex
Rex caught 18 par passes for 191 yards, an average of 10.61 yards per catch. Rex scored three touchdowns on the season and at 6-6 247 lbs., he is very hard to stop once he gets going down the field and is also important for the blocking game.
Senior running back Christopher Brooks
Brooks transfers from Cal where he was the leading rusher for the Golden Bears over the past two of three seasons. He he played in 40 games and rushed for 1,734 yards as well as 14 touchdowns. He also had 50 catches for 345 yards and seven receiving touchdowns.
In 2019, Brooks rushed for 914 yards in 12 starts and scored eight touchdowns on the ground and four in the air. Leading rusher Tyler Allgeier left for the NFL so the production that Brooks is going to bring will be very welcome.
Junior linebacker Morgan Pyper
Pyper had 32 tackles last season and 0.5 tackles for loss. He played in all 13 games and is poised to boost his numbers this coming up season.
Sophomore Ben Bywater
Bywater was a major contributor to the team last year, totaling 102 tackles, 57 solo tackles and 45 assist tackles. He also had 8.5 tackles for loss and one sack. He is going to be a major part of the defense this year.
Junior defensive lineman Gabe Summers
Gabe Summers had 24 tackles last season and one tackle for loss. Every year Summers has improved his production numbers. He has totaled 47 tackles in his career and five tackles for loss in addition to two sacks.
Sophomore defensive line Tyler Batty
Batty had 43 tackles in 2021, 23 solo and 20 assisted tackles. He also had had seven tackles for loss for 42 yards. Batty also recorded three sacks last year. His production and experience from last year will be significant for BYU’s defense this year.
Senior Pepe Tanuvasa
Last year, Tanuvasa had 42 tackles, 23 solo and 19 assisted. He recorded seven tackles for loss for 35 yards and made three sacks for 28 yards. He also put up an interception and returned it for 16 yards.
Senior defensive back / linebacker Chaz Ah You
Chaz Ah You has had a very productive career with BYU. He has totaled 81 tackles, seven tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery.
In 2021, Chaz Ah You made 39 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, made an interception, and had a forced fumble.
Sophomore defensive back Ammon Hannemann
So far at BYU, Hannemann has made 35 tackles, 26 solo and nine assisted and played in 11 games. Last season, he made 34 tackles and had a pass breakup. He will be looking to improve his numbers this season.
Senior defensive back D’Angelo Mandell
Throughout his career at BYU, Mandell has registered 72 tackles, 50 solo 22 assisted, and played in 47 games. He has made 3.5 tackles for loss for eight yards and has also made five pass breakups.
During the 2021 season, Mandell made 36 total tackles, 25 solo 11 assisted, and made one tackle for loss.
Sophomore Jakob Robinson
During his freshman season, Robinson made 29 tackles, 24 solo and five assisted. He also made three interceptions and returned them for a total of seven yards. He should make an even bigger splash this season after a productive freshman season.
Winning in Provo is never an easy thing to do but this should be a very interesting game. BYU had a very productive season last year and in 2020 but could be taking a step this year.
Utah State returns quarterback Logan Bonner but does need to find replacements for wide receivers and depth at running back. This is where Utah State’s problem could turn big.
They would be able to put up a fight for a while but the real question is does Utah State have the depth at receiver and running back to keep up with BYU’s playmakers on defense. At this point it is hard to tell and it seems like BYU could pull away in this game late for a victory.