No. 21 BYU will be without its top two wide receivers when it hosts No. 9 Baylor on Saturday night due to injuries, according to ESPN. Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney, the most productive wideouts for the Cougars in 2021, were considered game-time decisions earlier in the week by coach Kalani Sitake.
Nacua suffered a sprained ankle in a 50-21 Week 1 win over South Florida after tallying 98 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns on just four touches. Romney did not play against the Bulls due to an undisclosed injury that has sidelined him for weeks.
Their absences represent crushing blows for BYU as it preps to face one of the nation's best defenses. Nacua and Romney combined for 249 yards receiving and a touchdown on eight catches in the Cougars' 38-24 loss to Baylor last season in Waco. Together, they totaled nearly 1,400 and nine touchdowns in 2021, representing roughly 40% of the team's receiving yards and about a third of the receiving touchdowns.
Freshman wideout Chase Roberts caught three passes for 41 yards in his first career appearance a week ago, while tight ends Isaac Rex and Dallin Holker combined for five catches for 62 yards. However, no receiver caught a pass for longer than 21 yards vs. the Bulls; the Cougars kept its game against Baylor competitive last season by hitting four passes of 45 yards or longer.
With Nacua and Romney out, all attention switches to transfer running back Christopher Brooks. The senior posted 135 yards rushing and a touchdown in Week 1 after transferring from Cal, but Baylor's defensive front poses a far more difficult challenge. The Bears held star Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier to just 33 yards rushing on 15 carries a season ago.