The BYU Cougars got a win in the Eastern Time Zone for the first time since their victory over Virginia in 2000. Following consecutive losses to top 10 teams, the Cougars looked to right the ship and head towards bowl eligibility.
They made it happen.
BYU brought a perfect storm of offense, defense and special teams that translated into a 41-17 win over the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech. What follows are three keys that led to BYU's big win Saturday afternoon:
1 - Offense
Jamaal Williams helped BYU's rushing attack amass 183 yards on the ground and control the time of possession, 38:59 to 21:01. Williams picked up 107 yards and three touchdowns on the game and 54 yards and one touchdown through the air.
2 - Defense
Georgia Tech's power-option rushing attack ranks third in the country, but BYU's eighth-ranked rushing defense had been holding teams to 93 yards per contest. Tech picked up slightly more than the Cougars' average with 117 yards, but BYU played assignment-sound football and stayed in gaps, holding the Yellow Jackets to 0-10 on third-down conversions. Daniel Sorensen picked off a Tevin Washington pass and returned it to the Tech 2-yard line. Williams took the ball in to put BYU up 31-17 and put the game out of reach.
3 - Special teamsComment on this story
JD Falslev returned three kickoffs for a total of 129 yards, each time putting the ball at or near midfield. The Cougars scored each time he returned the ball, accounting for 17 points. Kyle Van Noy added a blocked punt that BYU would put in the end zone two plays later on a rush by Riley Nelson. Despite a 97-yard kickoff return for Georgia Tech, the Cougar coverage was blanketing and helped win the battle of field position.
BYU heads into a bye week at 5-4, needing only one win to becom bowl eligible. Idaho heads into LaVell Edwards Stadium the following week for the Cougars' final home game of the season.