BYU Football: Stats Don't Lie, Except Sometimes they do
The most popular player on many college football teams is the backup quarterback.
I haven't seen this yet, which is why I am writing this as a warning to all BYU Football fans. What I'm about to write happens all too often, and it will likely happen with the Cougars and Jaren Hall. He is going to play really well and start the debate (again) of who BYU's starting quarterback should be.
Up to this point in the season, the Cougars have played the 11th toughest schedule in the nation including being the only team to have played four Power Five teams. Over that stretch BYU has gone 2-3 with a surprising win over USC and a head scratching loss to Toledo.
During this time Zach Wilson has been pretty good. Not great, but pretty good throwing for 1,312 yards on 61.2% completion rate. While his turnovers have been costly, he has also made game saving plays with his legs and arm. Again, this is against four Power Five teams. Sure his touchdown to interception ratio (5:4) is not good, but he was still performing pretty well overall.
Now with a finger injury it is time for Jaren Hall. While I have no doubt that he is a great athlete and capable quarterback, there is a reason he was the backup despite getting all of the reps in Spring Ball.
But things may not look that way going forward.
In all likelihood, Hall is going to be putting up numbers that Wilson just wasn't having in passing yards, rushing yards and touchdowns. With his next games coming up against South Florida, Boise State, Utah State, Liberty, Idaho State and maybe even UMass, he won't have same defenses to have to worry about as Wilson did.
Also, the team is coming off a bye week which means that the players are going to be healthier and more ready to play since before after the USC game. This combination of bad defenses and a healthier team (BYU gets another bye after two weeks), and Jaren Hall and the Cougars may be putting up 35+ points per game.
With Ty'Son Williams injured and Emmanuel Esukpa banged up a bit, Hall is also going to be given more freedom with his legs. Personally, I believe that the coaches advised Wilson not to run which hurt the team because it was a strength of his. Without a strong running back core, don't be surprised to see more quarterback run plays called.
While I am all for putting out the best player, even if it is Hall over Wilson, I want to just send out my warning now, looking at the statsheet between Hall and Wilson can be very dangerous. Unless Hall goes out and throws for an average of 350 yards or more and puts up 40 points per game, there is not enough evidence to just assume that Hall should be the starter going forward.
So if it does happen please don't do what so many did with Taysom Hill and Tanner Mangum in 2016.