PROVO — Utah State made a statement early on Friday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
On the first play from scrimmage, quarterback Chuckie Keeton gave the ball to running back Robert Turbin, who sprinted right, and ran down the sidelines for an 80-yard touchdown, lifting the Aggies to an early 7-0 lead.
But BYU's defense battled back, and though it gave up some big plays to USU, the Cougars prevailed, 27-24.
Turbin ended up rushing for 123 yards on nine carries. Michael Smith ran nine times for 85 yards on nine carries and Kerwin Williams finished with 55 yards on 10 attempts. As a team, USU gained 284 yards on the ground.
"They have a very good running team. They have the most physical backs we've played this year," said BYU safety Daniel Sorensen. "We played the run very well at times and you make a mistake a time or two. But we bounced back and played tough."
As for Turbin's electrifying run to open the game, BYU linebacker Brandon Ogletree said the Cougars had to rebound.
"You have to let that one go. We regrouped and talked to each other and said, 'Play the next play.' There's nothing else to do besides that. That's a really good offense and credit goes to them. They're not easy to stop. It was a four-quarter battle."
INJURY UPDATE: BYU senior linebacker Jordan Pendleton did not play Friday due to an ankle injury. He is expected to be ready to go next Saturday against San Jose State.
Cougar wide receiver Ross Apo, who suffered a concussion last week against Central Florida, was hit in the head on a hard hit again in the first quarter. Aggie safety McCade Brady left his feet and drilled Apo on a play over the middle in the end zone, resulting in a penalty and Brady being ejected from the game. Apo returned to action in the second quarter.
Defensive lineman Graham Rowley left the game in the second quarter with a leg injury.
Offensive lineman Houston Reynolds, who missed last week's game with a sore foot, played Friday.
STILL UNPROSPEROUS IN PROVO: The last time Utah State defeated BYU in Provo was in 1978. The Cougars have now won 16 consecutive games at LaVell Edwards Stadium against the Aggies.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: BYU and Utah State have now played 15 times on Friday night since 1987. The Cougars won the first 13 meetings before the Aggies snapped that streak last year with a 31-16 victory in Logan.
FLAG-BEARERS: Former BYU linebacker Alema Fitisemanu (1985, 87, 89-90) carried out the alumni flag prior to Friday's game while offensive lineman Braden Hansen carried out the team flag and wide receiver Cody Hoffman carried out the special teams flag.
EXTRA POINTS: Announced attendance was 63,513 … (BYU leads the all-time series 43-34-3) … Legendary BYU coach LaVell Edwards, who played at Utah State, was inducted into the USU Athletics Hall of Fame earlier this month … All three BYU wins this season have come after trailing at halftime, when the opponent scores first and while playing on ESPN … The Cougars rushed 46 times for 200 yards, a season-high … Friday's win marked BYU's second fourth-quarter comeback this season, coming back from 11 points down against the Aggies. The Cougars came back from a 13-point deficit in the season-opener against Ole Miss.