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BYU football: How to watch the No. 21 Cougars play No. 9 Baylor

No. 9 Baylor (1-0) at No. 21 BYU (1-0)

Kickoff: Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MDTVenue: LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo (capacity: 63,725)TV: ESPNLivestream: WatchESPNRadio: 1160 AM/102.7 FMSeries: This is the fourth meeting between the schools, with the Bears holding a 2-1 edge. Baylor beat BYU 38-24 last year in Waco, Texas. Baylor won the first meeting 40-36 in Provo in 1983 and BYU won 47-13 in Waco in 1984.Weather: Clear skies and temperatures in the low 80s are expected around kickoff.

The trends

For BYU: The Cougars are trying to duplicate last week’s impressive 50-21 win over South Florida and hold serve at LaVell Edwards Stadium in front of what is expected to be a sellout crowd for their home opener. 

For Baylor: The Bears are one of the hottest teams in college football, having won the Big 12 championship last year, and are looking to complete a two-game sweep of the Cougars before BYU enters the Big 12.

What to watch for

BYU was manhandled in the trenches last year in Waco and suffered its worst loss of the season, in terms of margin of victory. The Cougars have worked hard in the offseason to match up physically with the Bears, after giving up more than 300 rushing yards to Baylor in 2021 and gaining fewer than 80 themselves. 

Cougars coach Kalani Sitake (49-29 in his seventh season) is gunning for his 50th win as a head coach. His mentor, LaVell Edwards, won his 50th game in his 77th try.

Baylor beat BYU last year with Gerry Bohanon quarterbacking the Bears. But he left for USF when Blake Shapen beat him out for the starting job. Shapen has a stronger arm than Bohanon, Baylor experts say, but might not be as big and isn’t as much of a running threat.

Key player

Baylor defensive lineman Siaki Ika stands on the field during game against Albany in Waco, Texas, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022.

LM Otero, Associated Press

Siaki “Apu” Ika, DT, Baylor: The former East High star originally committed to BYU before signing with LSU. He transferred to Baylor in 2020, sat out a year, then quickly became one of the best defensive linemen in the country in 2021. Ika, who is related to BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki, will try to keep BYU from running the ball effectively and force the Cougars to pass. That could be an issue for BYU if star receivers Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney can’t play due to injury.

Quotable

“We are really excited about the opportunity to play against Baylor, and we are familiar with them. Really, really good team. They are the standard for the Big 12. They are the champs. They are the conference champs and we get to have them here in Provo. We are eager to see how we match up with them after our game against them last year.” — BYU coach Kalani Sitake, on Baylor.

“There is a great physicality about them. I think their size and their physicality really stands out. They play a real physical, kind of old-school type of game. And it is cool to see from the outside. It is another thing to be lined up against it. And so we are definitely going to be challenged at the line of scrimmage.” — Baylor coach Dave Aranda on BYU.

Next up

Having gone 5-1 against Pac-12 teams in 2021, BYU travels to Eugene, Oregon, to face one of the better teams in that conference, the Oregon Ducks, on Sept. 17 at Autzen Stadium. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. MDT and the game will be televised by FOX Sports.

BYU schedule

Sept. 3 — BYU 50, South Florida 21

Sept. 10 — BYU vs. No. 9 Baylor

Sept. 17 — BYU at Oregon

Sept. 24 — BYU vs. Wyoming

Sept. 29 — BYU vs. Utah State

Oct. 8 — BYU vs. Notre Dame (Las Vegas)

Oct. 15 — BYU vs. Arkansas

Oct. 22 — BYU at Liberty

Oct. 28 — BYU vs. East Carolina

Nov. 5 — BYU at Boise State

Nov. 12 — BYE

Nov. 19 — BYU vs. Utah Tech

Nov. 26 — BYU at Stanford

All times MT

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