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BYU, Utah State: Instant analysis of low scoring game powered by defense

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2015 11:30 p.m. MDT

USU players get ready during warmups as BYU and Utah State play Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo Utah. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) USU players get ready during warmups as BYU and Utah State play Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo Utah. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

With the BYU offense demonstrating lessons in futility, it was the defense the Cougars relied upon to preserve a three-point lead and hold on for a 6-3 victory Friday night.

The Aggies of Utah State came in search of revenge but only found Ezekial "Ziggy" Ansah, Kyle Van Noy and their wrecking crew of a defense. The defense racked up nine tackles for loss, three sacks, one fumble recovery and one interception in a contest that was much more exciting than the final scoreboard may indicate.

While futile, the offense was not unproductive. Taysom Hill finished 24-36 with 235 yards, tossing one touchdown and one interception. Hill also racked up 80 yards on the ground and accumulated 315 of the Cougars' 380 yards of offense on his own.

With Riley Nelson still sidelined with a back injury and Michael Alisa out with shoulder issues, BYU looked to Hill and freshman running back Jamaal Williams to fill the void once again. Williams added 71 yards rushing and picked up 21 more through the air.

BYU's Marching band entertains fans prior to the BYU and Utah State game Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo Utah. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) BYU's Marching band entertains fans prior to the BYU and Utah State game Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo Utah. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

No player was more relieved the Cougars came out on top than kicker Justin Sorensen. A combination of bad blocking and a bad kick resulted in a blocked kick as the Aggies came straight up the middle on a second-quarter attempt. And just before the half, after a touchdown with three seconds remaining, Sorensen's PAT went wide left to leave the Cougars only up by a field goal, 6-3.

Aside from the block and the missed PAT, BYU went for it on fourth-and-short after starting a drive in great field position and attempted and failed on a fake field-goal attempt. Sorensen's 16-30 career mark and the Cougars' season-long kicking woes played a part in leaving a possible 10 points on the field.

With the win, BYU improves to 4-2 on the season and will retain the Wagon Wheel for at least one more season.

Jonathan Boldt is the Editor-in-Chief of the UVU Review at Utah Valley University, and can be reached at jonboldt@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @jboldt24. www.uvureview.com

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