By Marquis Cooley | Sports Editor, Video By Braden Murray | Broadcast Reporter
Fresh off their commanding 45-20 win over West Virginia, Baylor (5-1, 3-1) will take on No. 19 Brigham Young University at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at McLane Stadium for the 97th homecoming game in school history and a chance to become bowl eligible. Sixth-year senior cornerback Raleigh Texada said it’s the crowd that makes homecoming so exciting to play in.
“Just going out there in front of all teammates, alumni, coaches [and] family, it’s just huge,” Texada said.
For some of the Bears, it’ll be their first time participating in a Baylor Homecoming game.
“I’ve heard a lot about homecoming,” sixth-year transfer wide receiver Drew Estrada said. “Obviously [we’ve] got a really strong opponent we’re going to play. We’ve been able to perform really well at home, so [I’m] looking forward to coming out on Saturday and playing our best game.”
Even head coach Dave Aranda is looking forward to the atmosphere after having last year’s homecoming game postponed due to COVID-19.
“I remember coming to Baylor and hearing about homecoming and the traditions and the importance, so way looking forward to that, and so excited for our team and excited for my family to see that,” Aranda said.
After suffering their first loss of the season to Boise State University over the weekend, head coach Dave Aranda knows BYU (5-1) will be looking to make a statement in this one, with an intensity Baylor needs to match.
“I know that BYU is going to be an angry team and they’re going to be motivated. They’re going to want the stage, to show that they belong,” Aranda said. “Here’s a team that’s looking to prove something and bringing some intensity that we have to exceed.”
BYU sophomore running back Tyler Allgeier will be a major point of emphasis for Baylor’s defense. The 5-foot-11, 220-pound running back that Aranda describes as a “linebacker playing running back,” ranks No. 10 in the nation with 637 yards rushing. Aranda said Allgeier’s physicality is what gets BYU’s offense going.
“I think it may start with [Allgeier], just the driver of that attack and the physicality,” Aranda said. “He has an 8-yard run, falls forward and gets off of a linebacker that he just put in the ground. I think that drives the offense. Everything is kind of energized by that … We’ve faced running attacks before, but not to the level of this. And so you know, [we] can see it. Believe it. Now it’s up to us to stop it.”
Texada said the defense is aware BYU turned the ball over four times against Boise State last weekend and Baylor hopes to do the same itself, as forcing turnovers has been something the Bears have focused on all season.
“Each turnover, each interception, it just makes everybody more hungry to get more and just to help the whole team,” Texada said. “Creating turnovers each game is huge just to flip the momentum switch.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the Bears look to continue to air it out down the field. Over the past two games junior quarterback Gerry Bohanon has thrown the ball a total of 54 times, including a career-high 29 pass attempts last Saturday, which resulted in a career-high 336 passing yards and four passing touchdowns. However, Estrada said he knows the job won’t be easy.
“[BYU plays] really sound football, not a lot of mistakes on their end. They’re going to be in the right position every single time,” Estrada said. “They have a lot of good athletes, they’re really well coached and we have a lot of respect for them defensively.”
This will be just the third matchup between the Bears and Cougars as their all-time matchup is tied at 1-1, with each team having won at home. Despite not playing each other since 1984, Aranda said this weekend’s matchup will be a good one and that BYU will be a great addition to the Big 12 conference.
“I think they’re going to be a great fit,” Aranda said. “There’s a lot of respect for BYU, for their physicality, for their maturity, for their toughness. A lot of athleticism, but they’re very much the gym rat … They have been able to pull out wins [in] all different types of ways. It’s going to be a good matchup.”