Turnovers, turnovers and more turnovers. That's what sealed the fate of the BYU Cougars on Friday night in Logan as they coughed the ball up seven times in a 40-24 loss to the Utah State Aggies.
Utah State got on the board first when Kent Myers found Dax Raymond behind the defense and delivered a perfect strike for the 32-yard touchdown.
BYU tied the game at 7-7 thanks to a huge defensive play from Micah Hannemann who jumped the route on a wide receiver screen and returned the interception 46 yards for a touchdown.
The Cougars took their first lead of the night when Brayden El-Bakri scored on a trick play from 26 yards out on a pass from Beau Hoge. Austin Kafentzis took the snap and handed it off to Micah Simon who pitched it to Hoge on the reverse who then delivered the pass to El-Bakri for the touchdown.
BYU extended its lead to 21-7 when Beau Tanner made an acrobatic 40-yard touchdown reception from Hoge. Tanner managed to get one foot down just inside the end zone sideline after making the leaping grab on a play that was initially ruled incomplete, but was overturned on replay.
Utah State defensive back Jalen Davis cut into the BYU lead when he snared the ball that bounced off a teammate's back and returned it 30 yards for an Aggie touchdown.
The Aggies tied the game at 21, when Ron'quavion Tarver scored from 36 yards out on a well thrown ball from Myers late in the second quarter.
Utah State regained the lead a minute later behind the leg of Dominik Eberle who drilled a 32-yard field goal for the 24-21 advantage. The play was set up by safety Dallin Leavitt who intercepted Koy Detmer Jr. and returned it deep into BYU territory.
The Aggies added to their lead early in the third when Eberle connected from 40-yards out to push the lead to six. It was a drive that started at the BYU 21-yard line after Ja'Marcus Ingram recovered a Ula Tolutau fumble.
After Utah State forced another BYU fumble — this one from Kafentzis — Kent Myers found pay dirt from 19 yards out to give Utah State a 33-21 lead just seconds into the fourth quarter.
BYU put its only second half points on the board on the next drive behind the leg of Rhett Almond, who hit a 37-yard field goal to cut the Aggies' lead to 33-24. The field goal was set up by a 39-yard reception from Jonah Trinnaman that gave BYU the ball at the Utah State 6-yard line, but the Cougars went backwards from there before settling for the field goal.
Davis capped the scoring on the night as he picked off another Detmer pass and returned it 50 yards for his second touchdown of the night.
3. Corbin Kaufusi
Kaufusi came up big on defense and on special teams in the loss. He totaled four tackles and a sack while blocking a field goal try in the second quarter.
2. Micah Hannemann
He scored his first BYU touchdown on a 46-yard interception return while also totaling five tackles.
1. Fred Warner
The BYU linebacker had a huge game as he totaled eight tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack. He also broke up a pass.
Analyzing the stats
The Cougars outgained the Aggies 396-288, including 210-122 on the ground and 186-176 in the air. They also collected 20 first downs to Utah State's 14.
The seven turnovers by BYU was more than it had in the first four games combined. It is now a negative nine in turnover margin through five games.
It is the first time the Cougars have lost four games in a row since 2014 when a 35-20 setback to the Aggies started a four-game skid with the other three losses coming to Boise State, Central Florida and Nevada.
Tolutau carried the ball 21 times for 102 yards for the first 100-yard game of his BYU career. It was the first 100-yard rushing game of the season.
The Cougars return home to face Boise State on Friday night. The Broncos are 2-2 on the season coming off a bye week. Their two wins came over Troy and New Mexico with their losses coming against Washington State and Virginia.
One player to watch for Boise State is senior graduate transfer Montell Cozart who once beat out former BYU signal caller Jake Heaps for the starting job at Kansas. He has completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 416 yards and six touchdowns while carrying the ball 36 times for 191 yards and two more scores.